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Anglo-Saxon Fun and Entertainment

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FC: Fun and Entertainment

1: Anglo-Saxon Fun and Entertainment By: Michelle Palma

2: When they weren't fighting, the favorite pastimes of the dark ages dice and board games such as chess.Elaborate riddles were popular, as was horse riding and hunting.At feasts the most common entertainment was the harp, which was also used in church music.

3: The game known to the Saxons as Cyningtaefl ("King's Table") or simply Tfl (pronounce to rhyme with 'gavel') is derived from a common Germanic Tafl -game, and this was apparently one of the few board games known to the Saxons prior to the introduction of chess. The common Germanic Tafl is a development of the Roman game latrunculi ('soldiers'). One piece of supporting evidence--beyond the similarities of the games--is that Tfl (meaning 'table') is derived from the Latin loan word tabula. The game is played on a chequered board, the number of squares in vertical direction being odd and equal to the number of squares in horizontal direction, so that there is a distinct central square.The game simulates a battle between two unequal forces, a weaker force in the center of the board (typically black or dark-coloured), surrounded and outnumbered by an attacking force (typically white or light-coloured) stationed on the perimeter of the board.

4: The most popular form of entertainment was music and storytelling. It was a social skill that few of us today can muster, however a thousand years ago it was the expected norm at any gathering what ever it's size. There were many stories of ancient heroes such as the tale of 'Beowulf' or the Norse Sagas. Few of these survive today as they were generally passed on by word of mouth and were very rarely written down. Most of those which were recorded are in the form of a poem.

5: By far the most commonly found musical instrument on archaeological digs is the bone whistle. These are always end blown (like a penny whistle, not a flute) and have a variable number of finger holes, from none to six, although two and three holed examples are the most common.

6: The drum as we all would recognize, has never been found in Europe from this period, which begs the question as to what they used as bass percussion. A form of drum known as a hylsung was used, but what it looked like and how it was played cannot be certain.

7: Dancing certainly existed, probably generally performed to verse singing, and is likely to have taken the form of circle dances. Various kinds of 'hobby-horse' games, with mummery and miming, were known and many probably had pagan ritual and seasonal significance. However, it was seen as an expression of near wickedness by the church to indulge too much in dancing.

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  • By: Michelle P.
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  • Title: Anglo-Saxon Fun and Entertainment
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  • Published: over 8 years ago