Board Game Studies Colloquium VIII
Jorge Nuno Silva
Rithmomachia, or Ludus Philosophorum, was a medieval pedagogical game.
Played on a 8x16 board with 48 pieces, each with a number, was linked to the
teaching of Boethius quadrivium and was practiced by the learned in Churchs
and Universities. The Arithmetic of the quadrivium was heavily Pythagorean,
and so was the game, progressions and proportions among whole numbers being
its main ingredients. Manuals in several languages survived, the oldest
dating from the 11th century.
Francesco Barozzi (1537-1604) was an Italian humanist, professor and
mathematician. Born into a patrician family, Barozzi was given a humanistic
education. He learned Latin and Greek. Later, he taught in the university of
Padua. He translated Proclus and intended to publish commented versions of
Plato and Aristotle. He also dedicated himself to necromancy, which got him
a conviction by the Venetian Inquisition. He was a complex intellectual.
In 1572 Barozzi published a manual of Rithmomachia, Il nobilissimo et
antiquissimo giuoco pythagoreo nominato rythmomachia cioč battaglia de
consonantie de numeri.
We present a brief biographical note on Barozzi, an English version of his
manual, and a short description and historical survey on this game.