a medieval minute: chess

Kings playing chess.

Kings playing chess.

Bibliothèque municipale de Boulogne-sur-Mer_MS 0142

Bibliothèque municipale de Boulogne-sur-Mer_MS 0142

Women playing chess.

A man and woman playing chess.

Many depictions of medieval chess games appear in manuscript illuminations. Initially, the game recreated military strategy and kings, nobles, and knights commonly played it. Increasingly, however, women enjoyed the game as a recreational pastime. It was only toward the end of the fifteenth century that the queen became the most powerful figure on the chessboard.

The role of the queen:

For an essay on the medieval origins of chess:

My medieval novels are available on Amazon:


About medievalphyllis

I love history and I love writing. I've been working on an historical novel about a medieval viscountess, Ermengarde of Narbonne since 2009. It has been quite a journey and the journey isn't over. Previously I written 6 historical novels for kids, but this is a new challenge.
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