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Including the first printing of game boards and rules for a 10th-century dice game

BALDERIC, Bishop of Noyon and Tournai (ed. George COLVENEER).
Chronicon Cameracense et Atrebatense, sive historia utrisque ecclesiae, III libris, ab hinc DC sere annis conscripta. Nunc primum in luce edita, & notis illustrata.
Douai, Jean Bogard, 1615. 8vo. With Bogard's engraved device on the title-page, 1 large folding engraved game board, and 2 large folding letterpress rectangular game boards, each with 4 small engravings in the centre and explanatory text on the backs, the same 4 engravings of dice in the text along with 3 small engravings of seals (plus 4 repeats). 17th-century vellum. [40], “607” [= 623], [1 blank], [16] pp.
€ 7,000
Rare first edition, in the original Latin, of a mediaeval chronicle of Cambrai and Arras, written ca. 1100 and containing the earliest known description and representation of a "virtuous" dice and board game invented ca. 965 by Wibold, Archdeacon of Noyon, named Bishop of Cambrai shortly before his death, along with a simplified version where the virtue is chosen by a spinning pointer instead of dice. Wibold's game, called "Ludus regularis seu clericalis", is described in detail in a 12-page chapter (pp. 142-153) of the chronicle itself, with extensive notes in a 13-page commentary (pp. 460-472) where the three folding game boards are also inserted. The two rectangular boards are very similar, with rectangular spaces representing 56 virtues arranged along the edges of the rectangle. The goal is to acquire as many virtues as possible. Some virtues are easier to obtain than others. The Mediaeval church often regarded dice games as tools of the devil, and Wibold developed this virtuous alternative to turn the dangerous tool to good work. The chronicle itself is an important source for the history of Cambrai and Arras, beginning with the Roman Empire under Julius Ceasar and the Franks under Clovis, and continuing to about 1090. Its greatest value lies in its last centuries, where it provides many details not found in other sources.With two owner's inscriptions and a bookplate. With a few small tears in the folding game boards and a faint water stain in one letterpress game board and some text leaves, but still in good condition. The binding lacks two pair of ties and has minor damage to the turned-in fore-edges but is otherwise very good. Goldsmith BMC STC French, B135; Wilson & Watkins, Combinatorics: ancient & modern, p. 10.
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