Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

mmfilesi wrote:The "astronomical chess" ... 5automatas

Compare this with Macrobius (Comentary aboy Scipio Dreams).

There is a web edition (English):

Scipio's dream is described here

Well, it's a running game, something like backgammon. Not chess.
Yes, this is from one of the Evrart de Conty editions, Echecs amoureux. Conty wrote ca. 1398, the edition is from ca. 1467.
a) In the poem, the queen moves like that the queen modern. It was probably by the influence of the powerful Catholic queen.
That's what I would like to know as precise as possible. How and when. The precise dating is of importance to compare it with the Italian Trionfi developments.

For instance we have in Ferrara since 1486/1487 a start of a woman emancipation development, more offensive as before. This might well have some correspondence with the development of a powerful chess queen, also with the existence of a powerful woman at an important European throne. Actually Ercole d'Este attempted to make a journey to Spain in 1487, but it was forbidden by the current pope. The background of the operation is "unknown".

Around 1450 a Spanish card game as a poem exists, in which an Emperadore was the highest card. Around the same time a member of the Ferrarese court is at a visit in Spain, Angelo Decembrio. In Ferrara had been a card game called Imperatori.
In 1487 Matteo Maria Boiardo made a Tarocchi poem in Ferrara, containing the specific women emancipation style. Somehow this poem has some structural similarity to the Emperadore card poem of ca. 1450, at least a similar basis idea: one poem for each card and the poem is written on the card.

Generally the Ferrarese court was connected to Aragon, as Leonello d'Este married a daughter of Alfonso of Aragon, king of Naples (marriage endured 1445 - 1449), and Ercole d'Este a daughter of Ferrante
(since 1473).
The Ferrarese court was of big importance in the Trionfi card development.
Look this, please, dear friend:
Well, interesting. But dating the events is very important ... and a precise dating seems in this case not possible, or?
b) The chess of four season its a "Magic" Chess. Alonso X its was very interested in magic. He translated two works magic: the lapidary and Picatrix. (Magic: Orphism, Neoplatonism, astrology ...). In this chess wanted to show the relationship of the four humors and the Time (Hipocrátes. About the men).
It has the trivial aspect, that you can play this game with the same material, that you use for a usual chess game, 32 figures, 8x8-board, just by using the Queens as 3rd and 4th king.
In which aspect it is "magic"?

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

Well, it's a running game, something like backgammon. Not chess.
No. It's not backgammon. Not is chess. It's a new game. The interesting thing is that playing with figures. And these figures (painted or sculpted) represented the neoplatonic cosmogony. But as not using the usual iconography, classic, planets, moon and sun. Representations of the zodiac are Arabic .... In any case, it is not important to the tarot, directly. It's just a sample of how a game can reflect the astronomical beliefs.
But dating the events is very important ... and a precise dating seems in this case not possible, or?
The experts in the poem, considered its write in 1475 by Francesc de Castellví, Narcís Vinyoles and Mossen Fenollar.

You can said with Dr. Govert Westerveld. Is the person who best knows the poem and is very helpful.
In which aspect it is "magic"?
Alfonso X created a school of translators in Toledo. Was composed of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Alfonso X was very interested in astrology and alchemy. His translators prepared two books of magic (the lapidary and Picatrix). The lapidary is a set of magic cures on the powers of the stones, which are connected with the zodiac.

With the chess of the four stations want to show the relationship between the four elements (macrocosm), seasons (time) and the four bodily humors (microcosm).
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

After looking at the different old chess variants, it seems, that the Tamerlane Chess is most interesting.

112 fields
56 figures
28 figures for each party

21 types of figures, from these 11 pawns, 3 single officers, and 7 double officers ... this looks (only nearly) like the alphabet in the Sepher Yetzirah structure (12 simple letters, 7 double letters, 3 mothers), especially if we see a 22th figure as unused (lets call it "pawn of nothing") with the special field of the citadel (then the correspondence fits) ... when the king reaches this field, he gets a draw.

10 rows
11 columns
+ 2 fields for citadels
another 22 somehow

The probable date for the Cessolis text ... Jacopo de Cessolis (c. 1250 – c. 1322) Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium super ludo scacchorum ('Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess') ... might be "around 1300", just the same date, for which Meister Ingold in Strassburg in 1432 assumed, that playing cards arrived in Germany.
It seems logical to assume, that playing cards arrived in Europe with the Mongols. Tamerlane was of Mongolic origin, though of a later date.
A specific part of the Tamerlane chess is the feature, that the pawns were specialized, each had a different function, and this also was expressed in the figures. The same feature was used by Cessolis, although, as far we know it, his choice of 8 professions.



"The Ilkhanate was based, originally, on Genghis Khan's campaigns in the Khwarezmid Empire in 1219–1224, and founded by Genghis's grandson, Hulagu, in what territories which today comprise most of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and western Pakistan."

"When Muhammad II of Khwarezm" [who had conquered Persia short before] "executed the merchants dispatched by the Mongols, Genghis Khan declared war on Khwārazm-Shāh dynasty in 1219. The Mongols overran the whole empire, occupying all major cities and centers between 1219 to 1221."

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu or Minkburny tried to reestablish the Persian kingdom but was killed 1231.

"... [in 1231] Azerbaijan and southern Persian dynasties in Fars and Kerman voluntarily submitted to the Mongols and agreed to pay tributes.[3] To the west, Hamadan and the rest of Persia was secured by Chormaqan. The Mongols turned their attention to Armenia and Georgia in 1234 (or 1236)."

"The actual founder of the Ilkhanate dynasty was Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan and brother of both Möngke Khan and Kublai Khan. Möngke dispatched him to establish a firm Toluid control over the Middle East, and ordered him return to Mongolia when his task was accomplished.[11] Taking over from Baiju in 1255 or 1256, he had been charged with subduing the Muslim kingdoms to the west "as far as the borders of Egypt."

"Möngke's death forced Hulagu to return from the Persian heartland for the preparation of Khuriltai (selection of a new leader). He left a small force behind to continue the Mongol advance, but it was halted in Palestine in 1260 by a major defeat at the battle of Ain Jalut at the hands of the Mamluks of Egypt ...
... Kublai granted Hulagu the title of Ilkhan ..... The term il-Khan means "subordinate khan" and refers to their initial deference to Möngke Khan and his successor Great Khans of the entire empire. The Kublaids in the east retained suzerainty over the Ilkhans (obedient khans) until the end of its regime. Hulagu's descendants ruled Persia for the next eighty years, tolerating multiple religions including Shamanism, Buddhism, and Christianity, ultimately adopting Islam as a state religion in 1295. "

"Many attempts towards the formation of a Franco-Mongol alliance were made between the courts of Western Europe and the Mongols (primarily the Ilkhanate) in the 13th and 14th centuries, starting from around the time of the Seventh Crusade[1270]. United in their opposition to the Muslims (mainly the Mamluks), the Ilkhanate and the Europeans were still never able to satisfactorily combine their forces against their common enemy."
wiki:Marco Polo - In 1260, Niccolò and Maffeo were residing in Constantinople when they foresaw a political change; they liquidated their assets into jewels and moved away.[2] According to The Travels of Marco Polo, they passed through much of Asia, and met with the Kublai Khan.[4] Meanwhile, Marco Polo's mother died, and he was raised by an aunt and uncle.[3] Polo was well educated, and learned merchant subjects including foreign currency, appraising, and the handling of cargo ships,[3] although he learned little or no Latin.
In 1269, Niccolò and Maffeo returned to Venice, meeting Marco for the first time. In 1271, Marco Polo (at seventeen years of age), his father, and his uncle set off for Asia on the series of adventures that were later documented in Marco's book. They returned to Venice in 1295, 24 years later, with many riches and treasures. They had travelled almost 15,000 miles (24,140 km).
Wiki:Franco-Mongol alliance: "The earliest contacts occurred after 1220, via infrequent messages from the Papacy or European monarchs, to Mongol leaders such as the Great Khan, and the Ilkhans in Mongol-conquered Iran. But the pattern of communications tended to repeat, with the Europeans asking the Mongols to convert to Western Christianity, and the Mongols simply responding with demands for submission and tribute. The Mongols had already conquered other Christian nations in their advance across Asia, including the Kingdom of Georgia, and Cilician Armenia. Hethum, the Armenian king, strongly encouraged other European monarchs to follow his example and submit to Mongol authority, but was only able to persuade his son-in-law, Prince Bohemond VI of the crusader state of Antioch, who submitted in 1260. The Mongols with their Christian vassals successfully destroyed both the Muslim Abbasid and Ayyubid dynasties, and then for the next few generations fought against the remaining Islamic power in the region, that of the Egyptian Mamluks. The Egyptians and Crusaders even briefly set aside their enmity in 1260, acknowledging that the Mongols were a greater threat. The Crusaders thus engaged in an unusual passive truce with the Muslims, allowing them to advance unhampered through Crusader territory to engage and defeat the Mongols at 1260's pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut.
European attitudes began changing in the mid-1260s, as the perception of the Mongols changed from that of enemies to be feared, to potential allies against the Muslims. The Mongols, once they understood the European motivations, capitalized on this, promising that if the Europeans cooperated with the Mongols, then if Jerusalem was reconquered, the Mongols would return it to the Christians. Attempts towards an alliance continued through negotiations with multiple leaders of the Mongol Ilkhanate in Iran, from its founder Hulagu through his descendants Abaqa, Arghun, Ghazan, and Öljaitü, but without success. The Mongols invaded Syria several times between 1281 and 1312, sometimes in attempts at joint operations with the Europeans; however, there were considerable logistical difficulties involved, which usually resulted in the forces arriving months apart, and being unable to satisfactorily combine their activities.
Jacopo da Cessole, a monk in the Dominican brotherhood. He was born in Cessole d'Asti around 1250 and died in Genoa around 1322. He lived in Lombardy and later in Genoa in San Domenico's convent as a Inquisition's Vicar. Generally there is not much known about him and the research fights with different names for the same man.
With a position in "Genoa" Cessolis had excellent opportunity to get information from the Far East from first hand. As a man of the Inquisition (common for Dominicans) he probably knew matters secret to others and news, before they were generally known. Hadn't Marco Polo been prisoner in Genoa for some time? 1298, and he wrote his book there. Shouldn't have been a version available for the Inquisition? The Genoese secret service surely also had an interest to know about this journey.

Marco was send to accompany a princess ...
Kublai Khan declined the Polos' requests to leave China. They became worried about returning home safely, believing that if Khan died, his enemies might turn against them because of their close involvement with the ruler. In 1292, Khan's great-nephew, then ruler of Persia, sent representatives to China in search of a potential wife, and they asked the Polos to accompany them, so they were permitted to return to Persia with the wedding party — which left that same year from Zaitun in southern China on a fleet of 14 junks. The party sailed to the port of Singapore, travelled north to Sumatra and around the southern tip of India, eventually crossing the Arabian Sea to Hormuz. The two-years voyage was a perilous one - of the six hundred people (not including the crew) in the convoy only eighteen had survived (including all three Polos). The Polos left the wedding party after reaching Hormuz and travelled overland to the port of Trebizond on the Black Sea, the present day Trabzon.
... and arrived precisely there (in Persia), where we might speculate, that the Tamerlane Chess already existed, at the Ilkhanat-court. The old Khan had died, the bride was taken by the son.

Tamerlane Chess is mentioned, long before Tibur or Tamerlane got the reign. The author probably wrote already in the 1330's about it (al-Âmulî's "Treasury of the Sciences" ... according wiki: between "1335 and 1342 Amuli composed a large and widely-read Persian encyclopedia", the author died 1352).

As far I know it, it was NOT especially noted as a new game, but appeared for the first time in a collection, where various chess versions are noted.
So it might have developed some time after the military competition of Persian and Mongolian culture, possibly around 1250/60/70 by mixing some Mongolian/Chinese game elements with Persian elements, such forming a new sort of National game for a new Nation, Persia ruled by Mongols.

A "Great Chess" (10x10 - board) version had already arrived in Europe at the court of Alfonso the Wise in Spain, described in a manuscript commissioned "between 1251 - 1282" - Alfonso died 1284. Another great version existed with the Courier-game ...
wiki: "Wirnt von Gravenberg, writing early in the thirteenth century, mentioned the Courier Game in his poem Wigalois, and expected his readers to know what he was talking about. Heinrich von Beringen, about a hundred years later, mentioned the introduction of the couriers as an improvement in chess. Kunrat von Ammenhausen, still in the first half of the fourteenth century, told how he had once in Constance seen a game with sixteen more men than in the "right chess": each side having a trull, two couriers, a counsellor, and four extra pawns. He added that he had never seen the game anywhere else, in Provence, France, or Kurwalhen" ... I tried to find the passage in the Wigalois and stayed without success.

... and its 12x8-board and increased number of figures.

Both versions - Alfonso's great chess and the Courier chess - don't show the pawn-variations.

So there is some chance, that Tamerlane chess influenced the Cessolis idea ... perhaps only by hearsay. Nonetheless Cessolis used the idea of specified pawns for chess at the 8x8-board. Well, there is the possibility, that the idea developed independently ... without Tamerlane chess influence. There is the earlier chess idea to manifest an analogy between chess figures and planets, also it's possible, that also Backgammon stones got an individual character ... as used in the astronomical table game.

Later, ca. 1398, in the "echecs amoureux" interpretation of Évrart de Conty the 32 figures of chess had all special names and the figures of the playing lady are interpreted different from the figures of the young man (the author), mostly reflecting the French ideas from the popular "Roman de la rose" (Jean de Meung). In this text of Conty, which more has the character of a big encyclopedia embedded in a charming story with a chess game, the author used the Tamerlane chess idea with specified pawns now for both colors, getting 32 elements, so reaching a complexity, which Tarot never got in his great arcana (but Minchiate and Mantegna Tarocchi did). In his framework he also used "16 gods" and it may be assumed, that he connected them also to the chess game, but a clarification, if he did this and in which manner we didn't found indicated in the text (the text is tremendous long and in old French .... indications might be somewhere, but we didn't found them, the text was too horrible to research it consequently page by page ... 900 pages with much text or so).

Around 1425 Filippo Maria Visconti also used 16 gods, now in a card game, by us called Michelino deck after the painter Michelino da Besozzo - in any case they have differences in the composition.

Conty's row is:

till here the seven planet gods in Chaldean order
These 5 somehow appear in the later Lazzarelli poem (he replaced Cybele by Victoria)

The "De deorum imaginibus libellus / Albrici / Reg. Lat. 1290" from ca. 1420, based on an older version of Albrici or Albricus Philosophus produced this order:

Saturnus / Jupiter - 1r
Mars / Apollo - 1v
Venus / Mercury - 2r
Diane / Minerva - 2v
Pan / Pluto - 3r
Juno / Cybele - 3v
Eolus / Janus - 4r
Vulcan / Neptun - 4v
Vesta / Orpheus - 5r
Bacchus / Aesculapius - 5v
Perseus / Heracles (these are not Gods and Orpheus earlier is also not one) with following representations of the works of Herakles

whereby the first 8 are used by Conty in the same row and the 8 other figures also appear in 4 pairs in Albrici's text in an altered order

Pan / Pluto - 3r
Juno / Cybele - 3v
Vulcan / Neptun - 4v
Bacchus / Aesculapius - 5v

... so Conty probably took his arrangement from Albricus or an unknown neighbor tradition and reduced to "16" as he needed the 16 for his chess allegory, Janus-Eolus-Vesta and Orpheus-Perseus-Herakles (actually humans) had to leave.
This might have been Conty's model and his considerations:

The basic field (2x8) was parted in a male and a female field ... so one reigned by Juno, and the other by Jupiter:

So we get:

Jup. Jup. Jup. Jup. Juno Juno Juno Juno
Jup. Jup. Jup. Jup. Juno Juno Juno Juno

As Jupiter was a planet, all Jupiter fields were filled with planets and additionally Minerva as the 8th god in the list.
The other 8 are then for Juno.

Jupiter naturally had to take the King position, Juno naturally had to take the Queen position.
The position of the bishops was given in traditional chess to the old, and Saturn was older than Zeus in mythology. On the female side we have Cybele (which is Rhea and Rhea was the wife of Kronos, which is identic with Saturn. So we have for the officer row:

? - ? - Saturn - Jupiter - Juno - Cybele - ? - ?

For the officer row we have to search in the planets, which have more distance to earth: so Mars and sun as seen in the Chaldean row. For the female side we the older gods (pawns are seen as children), 2 brothers of Zeus and Juno: Neptun and Pluto. So we have this possibilities ...

Rook - Knight - Bishop - King - Queen - Bishop - Knight - Rook
Apollo - Mars - Saturn - Jupiter - Juno - Cybele - Pluto - Neptun
Apollo - Mars - Saturn - Jupiter - Juno - Cybele - Neptun - Pluto
Mars - Apollo - Saturn - Jupiter - Juno - Cybele - Pluto - Neptun
Mars - Apollo - Saturn - Jupiter - Juno - Cybele - Neptun - Pluto

... whereby one has to state, that more than one of these might fit the ideas, which are generated by the chess figures of Cessolis.

So I first take a look at the other 8 figures.

I've from Cessolis

Farmer - Smith - Barber - Merchant (= left side)
- Physician - Innkeeper - Doorkeeper - Messenger (= right side)

and from Conty
Venus-Mercury-Diana-Minerva for one side
Aesculapius-Bacchus-Vulcan-Pan for the other

Vulcan would be best placed as a Smith, but this is difficult, as he's not a planet god
Mercury might be the Merchant, but also the Messenger and he's a planet god
Aesculapius should be the Physician
Bacchus should be the Innkeeper
Pan might be the poor man (the Cessolis-messenger is sometimes a poor man)

... and generally there's the problem, that we have between the Cessolis professions only men, but in the planets group 3 female gods (if we include Minerva).

Between all this possibilities I come to the conclusion, that the following is most plausible:

Apollo - Mars - Saturn - Jupiter - Juno - Cybele - Pluto - Neptun
Diana - Venus - Minerva - Mercury - Asclepius - Bacchus - Vulcam - Pan

or in pairs, from left to right

Rook - Apollo - Diana - Farmer
Knight - Mars - Venus - Smith
Bishop - Saturn - Minerva - Barber
King - Jupiter - Mercury - Merchant
Queen - Juno - Asclepius - Physician
Bishop - Cybele - Bacchus - Innkeeper
Knight - Pluto - Vulcan - Doorkeeper
Rook - Neptun - Pan - Messenger ("poor man" typus)

Apollo - Diana is necessarily a pair (and Diane has as their children farmers), as Mars and Venus are a pair (and Venus is wife of a smith, i.e. Vulcan). Minerva is connected to philosophy and wisdom and this somehow fits with Saturn-Kronos as old man or Father Time. The Barber and his cutting tools fits with Kronos, though hardly with Minerva. Mercury makes a good merchant.
Asclepius gives a good physician, Bacchus a good innkeeper. Vulcan would be better as the smith, but a vulcano is a door to the underworld ("doorkeeper") and the underworld is the place of Pluto. Pan - if seen as "poor man" - fits with the messenger.


Mars and Pluto gives good knights, Apollo and Neptun are chariot driver (in some Cessolis pictures the rook is designed as chariot driver, though in others as a second knight or a peaceful man at horse different to the the knight, who is usually on a horse, but dressed in armour). In some Asean chess variations the rook is seen as ship, so naturally good connected to Neptun.


So it works ... Conty's 16 gods might have had their relations to the chess of the time. But naturally, he connects two different worlds, which originally were not connected, so the whole show has some weakness.
Filippo Maria Visconti's deck ignored ...
... the planetary row and the older model of Conty (as far he had known this, but this seems not unlikely), probably influenced by the reappearance of the Manilius manuscript, which used the antique 12 Olympian Gods (which also in the antique time were not always the same composition). The Manilius manuscript was found in a German library during the council of Constance by Poggio. Poggio had been after the council together with the papal entourage in Milan (so at the Visconti court) and left then to England for some time.

Filippo Maria used NOT the 12 gods of Manilius, but varied the order and the composition (he replaced Vulcanus with Bacchos), further he added 4 other figures Hercules, Aiolus, Daphne and Cupido (from which were all not in the Conty and two were not in the Albrici list).
The replacement of Vulcanus by Bacchus might be understandable with the person of Filippo, who probably had health problems with walking already in young years and who had made his wife executed cause adultery ... there are some parallels to Vulcanus, perhaps enough to make Vulcanus disappear in the order of gods, surely Filippo was not interested to cause mockery about himself by his own playing card deck.

The addition of the other 4 figures might be partly understandable with Filippo Maria's interest in Petrarca.

The Michelino deck is the oldest known object, which might be called Tarot or Trionfi deck, cause in its description are some basic rules given, which do not contradict knowledge known from the first Tarot rules. From its form it's rather different, the suits are birds, the total number the cards is 60 and it has 16 trumps - just the gods.
It might have a intentional relation to chess, as in the time around 1425 we have notes from a chess club at Filippo Maria's court (1427) and the visit of a master chess player (1429) ... and Filippo was generally known as a chess player.


In the genesis of Tarot, which followed ca 1440 - till ca. 1465 we see 4 - 5 deck forms which so much content, that one make some conclusions about them ...

1. Cary-Yale Tarocchi (supposed is 1441)
2. The Bembo cards (supposed is 1452) ... only the cards are considered, which were made by the first painter, so this only a part of the Pierpont-Morgan- Bergamo composition.
3. Hofämterspiel (supposed is 1455)
4. Goldschmidt-Guildhall cards (possible 1461)
5. Charles VI Tarocchi (supposed is 1463)

From these 1. and 5. one can argument as Chess-decks with 16 trumps, each card presenting one figure.

2. and 3. have a specific relationship, which is best explainable, that also these decks had a relationship to chess, though both are already stronger developed towards a card game structure, 2. with a 5x14-structure and 3. with a 4x12-structure.

4. has cards cards with a chequered ground, which might indicate, that also this deck belonged to the decks, which were influenced by chess

Argumentation to these points is given in this forum during the last months in various articles, not easy to say, where it really is ... :-) ... this is just an overview.
In recent time also arguments appeared, which seem to indicate, that in the 1470's or little before or little after some forms existed, which preferred a structure with 20 trumps, the considerations are mainly based on the research of the Lorenzo Spirito Lotbook, but also a little bit naturally o the 20 trumps in the Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo deck.

The first sure appearance of the 4x14+22-structure appears for the current moment in the Boiardo Tarocchi poem, which our research dates with plausible arguments on ca. spring 1487 or little before. This means not a guarantee, that a deck with usual Tarot motifs already had a 4x14+22 structure, still it might be, that it appeared for instance as late as ca. 1505 with the invention of the words Tarocchi or Taraux.

The general opinion differs here in the forum and elsewhere, of course.


The Tamerlane Chess version was detected by us not long ago and the surprising similarity to the final Tarot structure was realized. This led to my attempt to collect some data to early chess development to get a personal overview for this topic, which you see here at this place in this series of articles.

Actually this whole centers around the question, if the Tamerlane chess might have influenced the Italian Tarocchi version And in the case, that it happened ... and I personally don't see an indication, that it happened before 1465 and probably not after 1487 ...

Now we have a war between Venice and the Osmans starting 1463 and lasting till 1479 ... ... %931479%29
... in the begin of the period 1465-1487. During this conflict it was attempted to have a military alliance between Venice and one of the followers of Tamerlane, Uzun Hassan also called Ussun Cassoni.


In 1463, the Venetian Senate, seeking allies against the Turks, sent Lazzaro Querini as its first ambassador to Tabriz, but he was unable to persuade Uzun Hassan to attack the Turks. Hassan sent his own envoys to Venice in return. In 1471, Querini returned to Venice with Hazzan’s ambassador Murad. The Venetian Senate voted to send another to Persia, choosing Caterino Zeno after two other men declined. Zeno, whose wife was the niece of Uzun Hassan’s wife, was able to persuade Hassan to attack the Turks. Hassan was successful at first, but there were no simultaneous attack by any of the western powers.

Uzun-Hassan met the Ottomans in battle near Erzincan in 1471 and at Tercan in 1473. He was defeated by Mehmed II at Battle of Otluk Beli in the late summer of 1473.

In 1473, Giosafat Barbaro was selected as another Venetian ambassador to Persia, due to his experience in the Crimean, Muscoy, and Tartary. Although Barbaro got on well with Uzun Hassan, he was unable to persuade the ruler to attack the Ottomans again. Shortly afterwards, Hassan’s son Ogurlu Mohamed, rose in rebellion, seizing the city of Schiras.

After another Venetian ambassador, Ambroglio Contrinari arrived in Persia, Uzun Hassan decided that Contrinari would return to Venice with a report, while Giosafat Barbaro would stay. Barbaro was the last Venetian ambassador to leave Persia, after Uzun Hassan died in 1478. While Hassan’s sons fought each other for the throne, Barbaro hired an Armenian guide and escaped.

So there were diplomatic contacts.

During these actions it came to the expensive enterprise of an army on ship at the begin of Sixtus IV.s time as pope, which attacked Smyrna in Minor Asia, nowadays judged as a military nonsense, but celebrated in Rome spring 1473 as a great success with triumphal entry. Papal and Naples forces participated.

This is of interest, as Trionfi cards seem to have been related to triumphal processions. Also it's of interest, that we have some names of the diplomats, which have been in Persia.

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

In Hiashatar (played at at a 10x10-board), a second Mongolian chess variant after Shatar (8x8-board), which seems to be more popular, a rather revolutionary "bodyguard" figure is used - which I didn't find in other chess-variants.

But not only that, it's said (without pointing to evidence) that the figure of Bers (an equivalent to the Queen) moves like a modern Chess-Queen and it's said, that Hiashatar is "500 years old" or "medieval" (not pointing to any evidence). Actually this Hiashatar, as far the movements of the figures are concerned, moves like modern chess (at least the officers) and it only adds the bodyguards with the ability, to make the speed of the game slow.

If I take this information serious, then one has to judge, that the Spanish hypothesis, that the "modern Queen was invented in Spain" possibly has some competition in this question with the Hiashatar game.

Though, it seems probable, that it is (at lest the rule for the Queen's moving) of a later date.

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

In the research of the Trionfi games Cary Yale Tarocchi and Charles VI Tarocchi the hypothesis was developed with many arguments, that both decks imitated chess in a special Tarocchi manner with 16 trumps.
A curios observation occurred with the rooks, which appeared as dominated by the "tower picture", but also by the symbol of the trumpet (Fame and Judgment), which seemed to relate to the Elephant design of the rook, as elephants appear at the chariot of fame and the elephant for natural reasons associates the trumpet with its rather special nose.
This hypothesis led to the contradiction, that the figure Elephant mostly in chess literature is associated to the bishop position.

Now it could be proven recently, that the Elephant was used as rook by ...
Marco Gerolamo Vida:
begin 16th century, chess poem with gods, Mercury against Apollo ... q=&f=false

Of special interest, as the games placed elephants as rooks (usually they're positioned at the bishop's place) and this is in Italy. The bishop place is used for archers.

"And many an Indian Elephant appears, each on his back a frowning castle bears"
"To flank both armies to the Towers belong, Each by an Elephant is born along."
in the poem line 40 - 70
... was used as rook by Marco Gerolamo Vida in Italy, so the Tarot Chess hypothesis has made a point there.

Now I took the care to walk through all the chess variants I grabbed during this series of articles and had a special focus on the elephant:

Tamerlane chess (more or less Persia and neighbor regions)
In Tamerlane Chess the Elephant has interestingly the place of the usual rook (1st row) below the real rook (2nd row). The Elephant moves in this game: "Moves two squares diagonally and is unobstructed by pieces in between" as usual for the old bishop. And it is said: "There are several ways for an opening setup to be arranged.", so varying forms to begin the game.
2 variants of opening are given at the following link, but the positions of rook and elephant are stable: Elephant at place of the usual rook (1st row) below the real rook (2nd row).

The same elephant/rook position appears in a Tamerlane chess variant (the only one I found) with increased number of figures (36 per player) ... earab.html

From article: ... riants.pdf
"Chaturanga1 (Indian Chess) ... very old
... Elephant: Jumps two square diagonally
... Later in History, in an effort to reflect the real power of the Elephant in Battle, the Elephant was replaced by a Camel (retaining the same move: Jumping
diagonally over one square); at the same time, they replaced the Chariot with the Elephant (Giving the Elephant the Chariot’s (= Rook) move: Moving
orthogonally any number of squares)
. Often in India, nowadays, the Rook Piece is called the Elephant and the Bishop Piece is called the Camel.
... At a later stage in history (As described by Biruni in his India book around 1030 AD), the Elephant was given another move; one square forward or
one square in any diagonal direction (think of the four legs & trunk of the elephant)." (this moves like the Silver general in Shogi)

Same PDF:
The Silver general movement appears also in Burmese and Siamese and Kambodian chess as "elephant" or as Khon = "noble man"

Same PDF:
Ninth Century Indian Chess
Elephant and Chariot-Rook have exchanged positions at the usual rook and usual bishop's place.

Same PDF
Shatar (Mongolian Chess)
replaces Elephant on bishop position with a camel and this figure can move like a modern bishop

Same PDF
Modern Xiangqi (China) and Changgi (Korea) have interesting variants for the Elephant.
In Xiangqi the Elephant is limited in its movement by the river (defensive elephant) and the word Xiangqui is interpreted as "game of the Elephants" (??? possibly as Chinese thought the defensive strategy as wise ?)
In Changgi it functions like a big horse (extended movement) ... the figures and the unusual board are for both games the same.

Same PDF
Shogi (Japan) has the Silver general at the bishop position.
Sho Shogi, said to have existed in 16th century and to have been a precursor of modern Shogi, knew a "Drunken Elephant" (aka "Crown-Prince"), which had a central position before the king and 7 of the 8 movements of the king (could not go backward). "The 1696 edition of 'Sho-Shogi Zushiki' stated that the Drunk Elephant piece was removed by order of Emperor Gonara (reigned 1536-1557). " "A player who gains a 'Crown Prince' effectively acquires a second 'King' as the 'Crown Prince' must also be captured (or bared) before the opponent can win the game."

Shogi variants exploded in Japan ... :-) ... see
... there are even variants on a 36x36-board

In the eastern part of India the Silver interpretation was strong or the tendency is given to honor the Elephant especially, in Xiangqui by the name (but the rule already appears in India), in Sho Shogi as a second king. Perhaps this relates to the condition, that the animal elephant is known by practical experience.
In the Western part of India the old bishop rule or the modern bishop role dominate (and the elephant is occasional changed to camel and disappears as figure), probably due to the condition, that the camel is better known than the elephant.
There are minor appearances, which relate the elephant to the rook. They're minor, but they existed, even already in India.

If we assume, that Italy was more confronted with knowledge about Eastern chess versions than other parts of Europe (more trade to Eastern parts; the council Ferrara-Florence 1438/39; the Chinese ambassador of Toscanelli; the military experiences 1463-1479 etc.), than it seems logical, that chess knew more experimentation in Italy than in other parts of Europe in 15th century.

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

A rather good detailed article to the chess development in Spain is located at ... encia.html
by Dr. Ricardo Calvo

The three persons, which are involved in the game as Mars, Venus and Mercury (in reality Francesc de Castellvi (Mars), Bernat Fenollar (Mercury) and Narcis Vinyoles (Venus), are given with some extended biography as the members of a Valencian literary circle.

The argumentation for the dating of the poem:
"Lo magnifich mossen Narcis Vinyoles", as he was called in his late works, died in Valencia in 1517, at an age estimated between 70 and 75 years. He was a relevant politician and writer in Valencia in the last quarter of the 15th.century. An important side of Vinyoles's personality is his literary productions.

The mentioned poem "Scachs d'amor" should be one of the earliest, if not the first, for several reasons which we shall discuss later. Then there appear a certain number of poems, some of them trivial, satyrical or amatory, but others increasingly connected with religious themes, as in the literary contest in honour of the Virgin Mary, St. Catherina of Siena, St. Cristopher, etc. When he was a prominent politician, he wrote in a more grave manner ...

... Vinyoles, when translating the "Suplementum chronicarum" into the Castilian, explicitly abjures from Catalan as "a barbaric language." Still today, Catalonian scholars regard Vinyoles as betraying his own cultural roots, and it explains why the research on Vinyoles works is relatively rare.]
This is relevant to the dating of the "Scachs d'amor" manuscript, which seems to belong to the early youth of Vinyoles. First, because it is a manuscript and not a printed book, and the first printed book - "Obres e trobes en llaor de la Verge Maria", by Lambertus Palmart - appears in Valencia around 1474 (containing, by the way, poems of Fenollar, Castellví and Vinyoles). Secondly, because the literary play, where Vinyoles acts as Venus, does not look appropriate to the high politician Vinyoles was during his late years. Thirdly, because the manuscript does not mention the title of "mossen" when referring to Vinyoles and this title is, on the contrary, given to Fenollar alone. Castellvi, at least, has a "don" preceding his name, but Vinyoles is referred to with his name alone. Vinyoles appears with the title "lo magnifich" in 1488, in a literary contest in honour of Saint Cristopher. Taken together, these facts point to a probable dating of the manuscript which should be set in the decades of 1470 or 1490 at the latest. In any case, in all probability, the "Scachs d'amor" manuscript must be older than Vicent's printed chess book of 1495
The literary production of Vinyoles suggests in the whole a strong Italian connection.
One cannot see, for which reason this strong Italian connection existed. No journeys to Italy are recorded.

The text refers to 2 other Spanish

1. Francesch Vicent 1495
Llibre dels jochs partits dels schacs en nombre de 100
According the article it seems, that this book has been lost. It's assumed in the article, that it was used ca. 1521-24 by Cardano, by this it is concluded, that this book at least partly contained problem of the new game of chess.

2. ... _de_Lucena
Luis Ramírez de Lucena (c. 1465 – c.1530) was a leading Spanish chess player. He wrote the oldest existing printed book on chess, Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez con ci Iuegos de Partido, published in Salamanca in 1497. The book contains analysis of eleven chess openings but contains many elementary errors that led chess historian Harold Murray to suggest that it was prepared in a hurry. The book was written when the rules of chess were taking their modern form (see Origins of modern chess), and some of the 150 positions in the book are of the old game and some of the new. Fewer than a dozen copies of the book exist.
The German printer of the Lucena chess book 1497 in Salamanca, Leonard Hutz, had worked till 1496 in Valencia, where he in 1493 also made a book for Bernat Fenollar - this is interpreted as a "relevant connection" between the literary circle of Valencia and chess in Salamanca.

For Lucena himself: His father was an ambassador with activities in Italy ...
... with some relations to Pope Pius II and Alfonso V. of Aragon in Naples.

This .doc-file ...
Love, Chess and Literature in Lucena
The Unnoticed Precedent of “LA CELESTINA”
An English companion to historical essays gathered from the research of Dr. Ricardo Calvo, M.C. Romeo, et al.
(the same Dr. Ricardo Calvo from the first article)

... is rather interesting. It comes to the conclusion, that Lucena might be born 1470 - 75.
When explaining the rules of the game, Lucena makes a careful distinction between the new way of playing chess, which he calls "de la dama", and the ancestral rules, which he refers to as "el viejo" (the old one). All 150 chess problems are classified in two equal groups — 75 belonging to modern chess, and 75 to medieval chess.
"I intended to carefully produce this book, because I desired that the prince might find rest from his noble thoughts and holy occupations, and alleviate his fatigue with the enjoyment."
The book is dedicated to the son of Isabella and Fernando and probably made for the marriage with the Habsburg princess Margareta. The prince had gotten for his marriage the university of Salamanca, where the book was produced. (In Germany a playing card deck is known, which probably was made for the same occasion). Unluckily the prince died from having too much sexual intercourse with his bride (official explanation). Others speak of poison, a Jewish physician was executed.
Thus, in 1495, a double wedding was agreed upon between Spain and the Hapsburg Emperor. This marital alliance recommended that Prince John marry Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Maximilian and that the "infanta " Juana should wed the son and heir of the emperor, the Archduke Philip, heir of the Low Countries via his mother Mana Caroline, the duchess of Bourgogne. In 1496, shortly after this agreement, the youngest daughter of the Spanish monarchy, Catalina, was promised to the Prince of Wales. Years later, she became the first wife of Henry VIII.

On October 20, 1496, there took place in Flanders the wedding ceremony between Juana and Philip. After this, Margaret, sister of Philip, travelled to Spain to marry Prince John, brother of Juana. Margaret sailed in the same fleet of 20 vessels and 3000 men which had previously taken Juana to Flanders. The voyage was tempestuous, as Columbus, who had already returned from his second expedition overseas predicted. But the biggest political tempest was yet to come.

Prince John appears suddenly at the forefront of this story in 1497, when he receives his fiance in Santander. With unprecedented splendour, the wedding ceremony took place on April 3, 1497 in Burgos. Almost in a fairy tale fashion, everything seemed promising for the couple. Among many other presents, Prince John received as dowry the university city of Salamanca, the very place Lucena wrote his book praising love, chess and Prince John.

Meanwhile, Prince Manuel of Portugal remained hesitant to fulfill Isabella’s request regarding the expulsion of all Jews from Portugal. Finally, however, he surrendered to political pressure and accepted this condition. Afterward, in a quiet and discrete ceremony, the marriage took place at the end of September 1497, in Valencia de Alcantara, near the border.

By contrast, during those same days, Salamanca exultantly celebrated the arrival of Prince John, who received the city as his dowry on September 28, 1497, for which there exists an impressive description of the atmosphere penned by a direct witness, the Italian Pedro Martir de Anglena. (16)

However, as fate would have it, Prince John suddenly fell ill of a mysterious disease and, after three days of agony, died in Salamanca on October 4, 1497. There is no clear explanation for this illness and the official version of several historians is rather absurd. Their explanation offers how the lovemaking between John and Margaret was so passionate and intense that most of the court physicians became alarmed, and suggested a temporary separation of the couple. In contrary fashion, theologians rejected this idea with the sentence — "Quos Deus coniuxit homo non separet". As the story goes, the result was the physical exhaustion of the prince and his death.

In either case, a much more credible theory of poisoning as revenge against the crown for its policy of prosecuting Jews is possible to discern from the overall scenario. Caro Baroja ("Los judios en la Espana Moderna y Contemporanea", Madrid 1978. II. page 181) relates that the archives of Navarra and those of the Cathedral of Toledo contain documents supporting the theory of poisoning. In fact, the prince’s Jewish physician, a Portuguese named Ribas Altas, was sentenced to death and burned a few days thereafter. Also to be remembered is the prediction of Rodrigo de Basurto, a "converso" and professor of astrology in Salamanca, who made statements about the prince's death before the royal visit. (J. E. Gillet "Propalladia" Filadelfia, 1961.Ill, p. 630. Ruiz de Vergara, "Historia" I, 229-30 Cfr. Gilman, note 9, p. 273).

This gives grounds for speculation, the primary question being whether Lucena was as aware of the conspiracy as Basurto seems to have been. Certainly, Lucena knew Basurto, who was one of his professors. Moreover, on March 8, 1497, the same printers of Lucena's book also printed Basurto's "Praxis prognosticandi", which suggests probable connections among this group of conversos. Lucena may have been informed about the political background of royal marriages due to his father’s active participation in their negotiation. If so, the sarcastic "Repeticion de amores" may have been conceived as an oblique satire of the prince’s marriage, and the dedication of the chess book, replete with exaggerated flattery and 150 chess problems, a symbolic checkmate against a crown that Jews like Lucena had no reason to love.
Well, this is an astonishing hypothesis, and probably too exotic to be true.

Indeed Juan de Lucena, the ambassador and father of the chess player, was later persecuted, in 1503, as a converso ...

... :-) ... the link, that I gave above, starts to go strange ways in the mid of the article. Interesting read, wild speculation, hard to judge, what's true and what's not true. How do we call it nowadays ... near to Verschwörungstheorie or so, on the background of the real actions of the inquisition in this time.

Nonetheless interesting, it connects Lucena to the theatre play Celestina. A long article, read yourself, if you like.

Generally it's known, that the Borgia family evolved from the region around Valencia ... and there is a real dark background in the actions of the Jewish persecution in 1492 and the following Marano problematic.
... one of the authors behind the articles

Later added: I wrote ...
The literary production of Vinyoles suggests in the whole a strong Italian connection.
One cannot see, for which reason this strong Italian connection existed. No journeys to Italy are recorded.
I overlooked, that the information was later given in a footnote:
"Brianda" [wife of Vonyoles] "was the daughter of Berenguer de Santangel, brother of Luis. The eldest brother of Brianda, also named Luis, was abbot at St. John of Fiore in Naples in 1511. This branch of the Santangel clan lived in Naples for several years, which explains the Italian connections of Vinyoles. As a matter of fact, Vinyoles spoke not only Catalan, Castillian and Latin, but also Italian, in which he was fluent enough to write verses. One of his poems in the competition in honour of the Virgin Mary of 1474 was in "lingua toscana", beginning with the verse "Dilecta da Dio, obediente ançilla". In the contest in honour of the Inmaculate Conception (1486), there is another "Tuscan" poem of Vinyoles, beginning with the verse "Non po sentire lo insensibili morto". So, we can establish yet another relevant link, connecting the Valencian chess circle with southern Italy. This may explain why the Vicent book, with problems of modern chess, was known by Cardan (18) and Salvio (19) as late as the 17th. century. It also explains the Valencian influence, so far completely neglected by scholars, in Italian chess works as important as the famous "Scacchia Ludus" of Vida, where Greek gods also appear playing chess in verses. The rapid spread of the new way of playing chess in Italy can be more easily explained through these links than through the book of Lucena, which remains unmentioned by the later authors from Damiano on."

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

Great analisys, thanks, Huck.

Another trhead interesting.

Cessolis > Hofämterspiel

First line from left to right.

1. rocks, the governors > 10 Hofmeister
2. knights, War Leaders > 9 Marschalk
3. judges and assessors (advisors) > 8 Capplan(1), Hofmeistryn, Kantzler
4. queen > Königin
5. king > König
6. judges and assessors (advisors) > 8 Capplan(1), Hofmeistryn, Kantzler
7. knights, War Leaders > 9 Marschalk
8. rocks, the governors > 10 Hofmeister

1. Cessolis don includes eclesiastic in her game, because he is a eclesiastic. The Church cant go dawn the king (güelfos, gibelinos polemic).

Second line from left to right.

1. players, the ribald and the porters and messengers > 1 narr (the players), 2 bott
2. guards > 5 Schutz
3. Bartenders and waiters > 7 Schenk, Kuchenmeister + 5 Koch
4. doctors and pharmacists > 8 Artzt
5. cloth merchants and bankers >
6. jworkers in wool, as weavers, dyers and clippers; to skinners, butchers and butchers, to shoemakers and tanners and finally the scribes or notaries. > 3 Hofsneider + 7 Truchses
7. carpenter and craftsman (blacksmiths, stonemasons...) > 2 Hefneryn
8. Farmers > 2 Jeger, Pfister + 3 Vischner

The relationship is not exact, is evident. Cessolis wanted to describe the society and the author of the deck only the court. But it suggests the author of the deck could be inspire Cessolis.

I do not know if I have explained in my English prehistoric ? #:-s
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Strange enough

Taking a look at the Celestina play, it's rather strange, that I find ...
There are two versions of the play. One is called a Comedy and has 16 acts; the other is considered a Tragic Comedy and has 21 acts.

Although most scholars admit that an earlier version by an unknown author already existed, the first known edition is credited to be the Comedy published in Burgos by printer Fadrique Aleman in 1499 with the title Comedia de Calisto y Melibea (Comedy of Calisto and Melibea). It is preserved in the Hispanic Society of New York. On its first page it states: "nuevamente revista y enmendada con la adición de los argumentos de cada un auto en principio", alluding to a Prínceps Edition prior to 1499.

Some scholars wish to explain this discrepancy about the 1499 date, considering the version published in 1500 in Toledo to be the first edition; however, there is no positive proof of this, and there are some contradictications:

* 1. Acrostic verses are not in themselves proof enough that the 1500’s edition is the "Prínceps Edition".
* 2.If the 1499 version was published after the Toledo version, it should contain as stated, additional material, whereas some of the verses are actually omitted.
* 3.The phrase “fernando de royas acabo la comedia” means that a previous version existed and that Fernando de Rojas completed it by adding additional material.

The Toledo 1500 edition contains 16 acts, and also some stanzas with acrostic verses such as “el bachjller fernando de royas acabo la comedia de calysto y melybea y fve nascjdo en la puebla de montalvan”, which means “the graduate Fernando de Rojas finished the Comedy of Calisto and Melibea and was born in the city of Montalbán.” (This is the reason it is believed that Rojas was the original author of the play.)

A similar edition appeared with minor changes "Comedia de Calisto y Melibea", Sevilla, 1501

A new edition entitled Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea (Tragic Comedy of Calisto and Melibea) (Sevilla: Jacobo Cromberger) appeared in 1502. This version contained 5 additional acts, bringing the total to 21.

Another edition with the title Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea (Tragic Comedy of Calisto and Melibea) (Valencia: ) appeared in 1514. This version contained those 5 additional acts, with the total of 21.

In 1526 a version was published in Toledo that included an extra act called the Acto de Traso, named after one of the characters who appears in that act. It became Act XIX of the work, bring the total number of acts to 22. According to the 1965 edition of the play edited by M. Criado de Val and G.D. Trotter, "Its literary value does not have the intensity necessary to grant it a permanent place in the structure of the book, although various ancient editions of the play include it."
... a version with 16 acts, a version with 21 acts and a version with 22 acts.

Well, and I meet this in my own research, where I follow the ways of ...

1. old chess in relation to Tarot with 16 cards
2. Tamerlane chess with 21 different figures as a potential influencing factor
3. with a final version of Tarot with 22 elements

... under the condition, that somebody else than me (Mr. Dr. Ricardo Calvo, a rather good chess player btw.) after long research came to the surprising opinion, that the theater play Celestina was connected to the person of Lucena, author of a chess book 1497, and this author has a Spanish converso background which naturally connects him to Sepher Yetzirah and kaballistic considerations and so to the number 22, whereby I have already observed, that Tamerlane chess somehow incorporated Sepher Yetzirah structure.

The story of Celestina incorporates a love story between Calisto (the assumed alter ego of Lucena), which falls in love to Melibea, which rejects his love. By the involvement of 4 obscure figures ("servants"), guided by Celestina, Calisto falls from a ladder ("ladder" asscociates a hierarchy of steps as for instance the 21 trumps of Tarot) and the unlucky Melibea throws herself from a large tower (the tower in Tarot was connected to number 16).

The three major figures Calisto, Melibea and Celestina seem to play a pun on star lore.


Callisto actually is a female nymph name, but she has a son, Arcas
Callisto was a nymph (or, according to some sources, the daughter of Lycaon) who was associated with the goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Young women who were devoted to the goddess hunted with her regularly, and remained virgins, like Artemis herself. Callisto had upheld these ideals faithfully, and she quickly became Artemis' favorite.

While Callisto spent her days and nights with Artemis' other followers, she caught the eye of Zeus. Knowing that the maiden had taken a vow of chastity, Zeus resorted to deception to get at Callisto. He came to her disguised as Artemis, and the young huntress let down her guard. Seizing the opportunity Zeus raped her.

Callisto became pregnant, and tried desperately to conceal her condition form the goddess. After all, she had, in a way, broken her vow to the goddess and she feared her anger. Callisto had been successful for a time, but then a day came when all of the young women who followed Artemis disrobed to bathe together in a spring. By now Callisto was beginning to show, and once she was naked her secret was revealed. Artemis was furious and she banished the young woman from her fold. Callisto wandered off to have her child alone.

Hera decided that this was the time to exact her revenge. She gripped Callisto's hair and threw her to the ground where the new mother was transformed into a bear. The hunter became the hunted. The child that Callisto had by Zeus was spirited away by Hermes to be raised by his mother, Maia. He was named Arcas, meaning "bear," and he grew up to be a fine hunter himself. Some sources have the bear captured and taken to Callisto's own father, Lycaon.

According to some sources Artemis herself killed the bear that was once Callisto, but it is usually accepted that when Arcas was out hunting as a young man he encountered the bear. Callisto recognized the handsome youth as the son she could not raise herself. Forgetting her present form, she tried to come near him, but her loving mother's arms were now strong, furry paws, and her once soothing voice was now a rumbling growl. The bear scared Arcas, and he took aim at her with his spear. Zeus took pity on his former victim and intervened. He placed Callisto in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major, or "great bear," and then took Arcas and placed him in the sky near his mother as Ursa Minor, the "little bear."

Hera was not pleased with this arrangement, especially since Callisto was another of her husband's infidelities. She went to her nurse, Tethys, the wife of Oceanus, and beseeched her to punish Callisto and Arcas. Tethys decided to deprive the pair of water, and so the great bear and the little bear are cursed to circle in the skies, never to dip below the horizon for a refreshing bath or a cool drink. Here the peoples of ancient Greece explained why the two constellations are circumpolar, visible all year round.
Melibea (in Celestina) actually seems to be Meliboia or Chloris in the Niobe-story
Meliboea was one of Niobe and Amphion's fourteen children (the Niobids), and the only one (or one of two) spared when Artemis and Apollo killed the Niobids in retribution for Niobe's insult to their mother Leto, bragging that she had many children and Leto had only two. Meliboea was so frightened by the ordeal, she turned permanently pale, changing her name to Chloris ("pale one"). This Chloris is referred to in Homer's Odyssey (book 11, lines 281-296).

She was later to marry to Neleus and become queen in Pylos. They had several sons including Nestor, Alastor and Chromius and a daughter Pero. Chloris also had a son, Poriclymenus while married to Neleus, though by some accounts Poriclymenus's father was Poseidon (who was himself Neleus's father). Poseidon gave Poriclymenus the ability to transform into any animal. Other children include Taurus, Asterius, Pylaon, Deimachus, Eurybius, Phrasius, Eurymenes, Evagoras and Epilaus.

Odysseus is said to have encountered Chloris on his journey to Hades (Homer's Odyssey, 11, 281).
Lycaon, called father of Callisto in Greek mythology
Lycaon was the cruel king of Arcadia, son of Pelasgus and Meliboea, who tested Zeus by serving him a dish of a slaughtered and dismembered child. In return for this gruesome deed Zeus transformed Lycaon into the form of a wolf, and killed Lycaon's fifty sons by lightning bolts, except possibly Nyctimus, who was then the slaughered child, and instead became restored to life[1].

In Astronomica Hyginus describes the victim of Lycaon as being Arcas, son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Callisto, the daughter of Lycaon. When saved and restored to life, Arcas was brought up to be a hunter by mistake hunting himself and his mother (for the moment transmogrified to a bear) into a temple where the entrance was punished by death, both saved by Zeus to constitute the constellations Arctophylax [= Boötes, who is a shephard] and Greater Bear[2].
Pelasgos, called father of Lycaon
Ursa Minor and Ursa Major were related by the Greeks to the myth of Callisto and Arcas. However, in a variant of the story, in which it is Boötes that represents Arcas, Ursa Minor was considered to represent a dog. This is the older tradition which sensibly explains both the length of the tail and the obsolete alternate name of Cynosura (the dog's tail) for Polaris, the North Star.[2]

Previously, Ursa Minor was considered to be just seven close stars, mythologically regarded as sisters. In early Greek mythology, the seven stars of the Little Dipper were considered to be the Hesperides, daughters of Atlas. Together with the nearby constellations of Boötes, Ursa Major, and Draco, it may have formed the origin of the myth of the apples of the Hesperides, which forms part of the Labours of Hercules

Arcas gave his name to Arcadia. Arcadian shepherd literature developed in the 1480 literature in the region of Naples (reigned by rulers of Aragon descend) and became very popular. Naples was conquered short after 1500 by a Spanish/French army and became Spanish.

The involvement of Melibea associates "14" (14 children of Niobe) and the involvement of Calisto associates "50"
(50 sons of Lycaon). 50 + 14 = 64 (fields at an 8x8 chess-board).
This observation contributes to the opinion, that the theater play "Celestina" has to be understood in chess context.
Celestina probably has to be interpreted as "heaven of the stars" and Calisto's and Melibea's story is just star lore.

Re: Chess variants 14th/15th century

mmfilesi wrote:Great analisys, thanks, Huck.

Another trhead interesting.

Cessolis > Hofämterspiel

First line from left to right.

1. rocks, the governors > 10 Hofmeister
2. knights, War Leaders > 9 Marschalk
3. judges and assessors (advisors) > 8 Capplan(1), Hofmeistryn, Kantzler
4. queen > Königin
5. king > König
6. judges and assessors (advisors) > 8 Capplan(1), Hofmeistryn, Kantzler
7. knights, War Leaders > 9 Marschalk
8. rocks, the governors > 10 Hofmeister

1. Cessolis don includes eclesiastic in her game, because he is a eclesiastic. The Church cant go dawn the king (güelfos, gibelinos polemic).

Second line from left to right.

1. players, the ribald and the porters and messengers > 1 narr (the players), 2 bott
2. guards > 5 Schutz
3. Bartenders and waiters > 7 Schenk, Kuchenmeister + 5 Koch
4. doctors and pharmacists > 8 Artzt
5. cloth merchants and bankers >
6. jworkers in wool, as weavers, dyers and clippers; to skinners, butchers and butchers, to shoemakers and tanners and finally the scribes or notaries. > 3 Hofsneider + 7 Truchses
7. carpenter and craftsman (blacksmiths, stonemasons...) > 2 Hefneryn
8. Farmers > 2 Jeger, Pfister + 3 Vischner

The relationship is not exact, is evident. Cessolis wanted to describe the society and the author of the deck only the court. But it suggests the author of the deck could be inspire Cessolis.

I do not know if I have explained in my English prehistoric ? #:-s
I think, you've at least partly the right idea.

There are 6 groups of 4 cards, which present court cards in the Hofämter:

Kings (unnumbered) = King
Queens (unnumbered) = Queen
Hofmeister (all 10's) = Rook
Marshalls (all 9's) = Knights
Jungfrauwe (all 6's) = pawns
Fools (Narr) (all 1's) = Bishops

The deck probably has to be understood as a shortened deck of another complete version with 14 cards for each suit, in this probably 1(= ace) +10(=Banner) + (11+12+13+14 = courts) existed, just those cards, which in German decks often have specific decoration. The 2-9 then had (probably) profession character and then there was a balance for 8 pawns (1 number for each pawn).
For unknown reasons the deck was probably shortened (German decks took some general preference for decks with 48 cards).
The remaining rest of the cards (2-5, 7-8) got all different professions with one exception, the Trumpeter appears twice in the Hofämter, possibly connected to a specific meaning, which is difficult to understand under the given conditions.

We've to see, that a deck, which was known to Johannes of Rheinfelden (1377) with 60 cards, also used professions for the number cards.
It used 5 court cards: King - Queen - Jungfrauen (maids) - upper Marshall - lower Marshall, so actually 5 of the 6 courts of the Hofämterspiel.
Possibly this deck was already reduced and the original had 6 courts (with Fool) and the complete number of this deck was 64.

Fools = Bishops might surprise, but the French expression for the bishop was "Fou" and the Bohemian-Luxemburgian-German court was strongly influenced by French customs.