The Reception of Paulinus of Venice’s Chess Treatise in Late Medieval Bohemia Cover Image

Recepce šachového traktátu Paulina z Benátek v pozdně středověkých Čechách
The Reception of Paulinus of Venice’s Chess Treatise in Late Medieval Bohemia

Author(s): Václav Žůrek
Subject(s): Middle Ages
Published by: AV ČR - Akademie věd České republiky - Filosofický ústav
Keywords: Bohemia; chess treatises; Paulinus of Venice; Jacobus de Cessolis; court of Wenceslas IV

Summary/Abstract: This study deals with a short chess treatise entitled Tractatus de ludo scachorum written bythe Franciscan Paulinus of Venice (around 1270–1344). The treatise is apparently inspired by thebest-selling chess treatise of the same name, written by the Dominican Jacobus de Cessolis. Theevaluation of the reception of Paulinus’s work from a pan-European perspective clearly showsthat after initial interest in 14th century Italy, the second wave of its reception was in CentralEurope at the beginning of the 15th century, which can be connected mainly with the court ofWenceslas IV and Prague ecclesiastic dignitaries. This applies both to Paulinus’s work as a whole,as well as to the treatise on the game of chess itself. This branch of the tradition also includesthe richly illuminated Madrid manuscript, the only one containing the chess treatise alone. Thestyle of its decoration, as well as some of its details, suggests a commissioner among the Czechnobility close to King Wenceslas IV. The most likely candidate is Petr Zmrzlík the Elder, a richnobleman and bibliophile.

  • Issue Year: 11/2019
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 21-43
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: Czech