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neither the Moguls nor the Muscovites acquired the 'game of Chess originally from the Persians, because, as we well know, the latter never made use of either "Ship," or "Chariot" on their board. on their board. It is true they adopted with some modification, the Sanskrit word Roka," which they changed into "Rukh;" but then they, as well as the Arabs and the western Europeans, never attached to the word any signification denoting either a "boat," or a "war-chariot." The Russians, then, could not possibly have received, by translation or otherwise, their term "Lodia," from the Persians, Arabs, or medieval Europeans.
I readily admit that the Sclavonic tribes learned the game from the Moguls, or to use a more general expression, from the people of Turan; but then, is it at all probable that the latter, who roamed about far inland with their herds and flocks, and few of whom ever saw a ship during their lives, should have had recourse to such a term for the Chess Rook? Again, could the Russians on receiving the game from the Moguls, have possibly originated the term "Lodia," or "Ship," to denote what we call the Castle? I answer-the idea in either case is utterly preposterous. The conclusion then is obvious the people of Turan received the Chaturanga from their neighbours the Hindus, in the south, pur et simple; and in the same state of purity and simplicity, they handed it over to their neighbours the Muscovites or Sclavonians in the West. On no other supposition can we account for the curious fact of the absolute
1 Tūran was the name applied of old by the Persians to the vast regions situated to the north of India and Persia, extending from the Volga to the confines of China. From the strong affinity that exists between the Sanskrit and Russian languages, as proved in Bopp's Vergleichende Grammatik, we are led to infer that the Hindus and Sclavonic people were in former times nearer neighbours than they are at present.
identity of the terms King, Elephant, Horse, Ship, and Pawn, both in Chess game of the Russians, and in the ancient Hindu Chaturanga.
I have not as yet spoken of the Queen which, as the reader will remember, had no place in the Chaturanga. This piece the Russians call Ferz-the pure Persian term-and it is the only name which they they have adopted, and not translated. Finally, they call the game Schakh, which also, as in German, denotes Check. see, then, that both the terms Ferz and Schakh are evidently of Persian, not of Indian origin. They are peculiar to the Shatranj only, but not to the Chaturanga ; hence we conclude, 1st-that the Sclavonians were in early times acquainted with the primæval game of Chaturanga, before its change into the medieval Shatranj. This is evident from the identity of the names of the pieces; but more especially from the use of the term "Lodia," to denote our "Castle." The Hindu game may have reached them from Kashmir, or the Panjab, through the region of Turan. In the second place, from the use of the terms "Ferz" and "Schakh," we are led to infer that at a latter period, probably in the time of Jenghis Khan, or of Timur, who, each in his turn invaded Russia, the Sclavonians received the mediæval game of Shatranj, together with these terms from the Persians or Arabs.
I conclude this chapter by a few remarks on the celebrated set of ivory Chessmen supposed to have once belonged to Charlemagne, and presented by him to the Abbey of St. Denis, where they were preserved till the French Revolution some seventy years ago. I avail myself, in the first place, of Sir Frederic Madden's description entire, as the account is by far too valuable to be either overlooked or abridged. To this I shall append
a few notes of my own (marked F), and then add a few remarks respecting some apparent inconsistencies, in which the subject appears to me to be involved.
Sir Frederic says:-"But the strongest proof that the game of Chess was introduced into France during the period of the Carlovingian dynasty, is to be found in the ivory Chessmen still preserved in the Cabinet of Antiquities, in the Bibliothèque du Roi at Paris,' which have been hitherto regarded too lightly. This has arisen from two causes, the first from their never having been seen by any English writer except Twiss; and secondly, from the strange mistake of Dr. Hyde, who represented the Pawns as bearing muskets (sclopetos) on their shoulders, and consequently of very modern workmanship. These pieces were formerly deposited in the treasury of the Abbey of St. Denis, and in a History of the Abbey, published in 1625, are thus noticed:-"L'Empereur et Roy de France, Sainct Charlemagne, a donné au Thresor de Sainct Denys un jeu d'eschets, avec le tablier, le tout d'yvoire; iceux eschets hauts d'une paulme, fort estimez . le dit tablier et une partie des eschets ont esté perdus par succession de temps, et est bien vray semblable qu'ils ont esté apportez de l'Orient, et sous les gross eschets il des caractères Arabesques."
"Dr. Hyde quotes a somewhat similar passage from another writer (Millet), and gives us the Arabic inscription engraved on the larger pieces as follows:
1 It is strange that these ancient relics should not have been noticed in any of our Chess magazines, French or English, within the last quarter of a century. I have been given to understand that they were dispersed and lost sight of during the great Revolution; and I cannot help thinking that such has been the case, from the total silence respecting them on the part of the contributors to the French monthly periodical, entitled Le Palamède, as well as those of our own Chess Player's Chronicle.-F.
2 Histoire de l'Abbaye de S. Denis, par Jacques Doublet, Religieux de la dite Abbaye, 4to. Par. 1625.
Min 'amali Yusuf al Nakulī (or Nakili.) Ex opere Josephi Nicolai; arguing from the name, that the artist was an European.2 But with all respect to Hyde's oriental learning, it is evident we ought to translate the words (as in Menage), "Ex opere Josephi al-Nakali," i.e., "the work of Joseph, native of Nakali," probably a city of Asia Minor, now called by the Turks, Aineh-ghiol.3 The pieces, as described by the same author, represent a King, Queen, Archer, Centaur, Elephant, and Pawn. Mr. Twiss, who actually saw these Chessmen at St. Denis, previous to the year 1787, says that at that time only fifteen pieces and one Pawn remained, all of ivory, yellowed by time. He gives, nevertheless, a very unsatisfactory account of them, but states the King to be
1 I may mention that the Arabic inscription is, perhaps I ought to say was, in the old Kufic character; for otherwise the antiquity of the Chessmen would fall to the ground. Then, as usual, the symbols indicating the short vowels, as well as the diacritical dots of the consonants, being omitted, we have two legitimate ways of reading the carver's cognomen, viz., Nāķulī, or Nāķilī, but not Nāķali (as in Menage). On the first supposition it denotes that the artist was a native of Nākuliya, a town in Asia Minor, casually alluded to by D'Herbelot. The most probable supposition, however, is that we should read Nāķilī, in which case it would denote, "the son of the Nākil," which literally means a transporter," hence applied figuratively, "a scribe, copyist, translator, painter," &c. But this is not all. It so happens that in the Kufic character the letter k, when joined to the letter following, is the same in form as the letter h; and the initial letter b is the same as n. Hence the word may be read Bāhilī, i.e., a man of the Bahil tribe of Arabs" '—as I have been told by a good Arabic scholar who has seen a fac-simile of the inscription. This is a very common Arabic formation, like Kāshifī, Kātibi, and hundreds of others ; but in any case, it is perfectly clear that the artist was a genuine Arab and not a Greek christian, as Dr. Hyde would seem to imply.-F.
2 Hist. Shahilud, pp. 72, 132.
3 V. D'Herbelot and Baudrand. It should be, not Nakali, but Nakuliya. 4 Sir Frederic may well say that Twiss's account is "very unsatisfactory"It is simply very absurd. He says that the King is "twelve inches high and eight broad." Now, admitting the height, which, however, I do under protest, as a very great stretch, let us see how the breadth will stand the test of those stubborn little things known as the figures of arithmetic, a Hindu invention by the way. The King being eight inches broad, it follows, that in order to allow him room to move freely, every square on the board must have been at least nine inches by nine. This gives us a Chess board of six feet by six, not count
about twelve inches high, and eight broad, very clumsily carved, and the Pawn about three inches high, representing a dwarf bearing a large shield.
A private engraving of the Pawn was circulated by Twiss, which completely disproves the assertion of Hyde with regard to the muskets. But we are fortunately enabled to form a more accurate judgment of the antiquity and form of these singular pieces from the figures of the King and Queen engraved in Willemin's splendid work. They are each represented sitting on a throne, within an arched canopy, of a semi-circular shape, supported by columns, and on either side of the King two male, of the Queen two female personages, are seen in the act of drawing aside a curtain. The King holds a sceptre in his hand, and the Queen an oval ornament, probably intended for the mound. The dresses and ornaments are all strictly in keeping with the Greek costume of the ninth century; and it is impossible not to be convinced, from the general character of the figures, that these Chessmen really belong to the period assigned them by tradition, and were, in all probability, executed at Constantinople, by an Asiatic Greek, and sent as a present to Charlemagne, either by the Empress Irene, or
ing the outward rim or border! "Risum teneatis amici!" But why should we notice Twiss at all? The worthy "Religieux," Jacques Doublet, plainly states that the Chessmen were [at an average] "hautes d'un paulme," an assertion which bears on the face of it the stamp of truth and common sense. The French "paulme," or "paume," is, or was, a lineal measure, nearly equivalent to what we call "a hand," still used among us in measuring the height of horses."-F.
1 Monumens Francais Inedits, fol. Par. 1806, 1832. This work is not yet complete, and the text describing the above plate is unfortunately wanting. There is no copy in the Museum, and I am indebted for the sight of one to Thomas Willemin, Esq. I have made some attempts to procure drawings and measurements of all these Chessmen, but whether I shall succeed or not, time will show.
2 The name clearly shows that the artist was an Arab, and not a Greek. He may, however, have been an Asiatic subject of the Byzantine Empire.-F.