IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1123: Games for Pleasure: Theory, Practice, Criticism

Wednesday 3 July 2013, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Philippa Maddern, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, University of Western Australia
Paper 1123-aLicet uti ludo: Anatomy of Ludic Pleasure in Aquinas
(Language: English)
Piotr Roszak, Wydzial Teologiczny, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Latin, Religious Life, Theology
Paper 1123-bLudus inhonestus et illicitus - Or, Why Chess and Other Board Games Came in for Criticism in Medieval Europe
(Language: English)
Robert Bubczyk, Instytut Kulturoznawstwa, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lublin
Index terms: Daily Life, Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities

Paper -a:
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is one of most influent thinkers in Middle Age and his opinions about pleasure in Summa Theologiae (II-II, q.168) reflects the cultural paradigm in the medieval Christianitas. He distinguishes several level of delectatio that characteristics human’s good operation: spiritual and corporal pleasure, one that comes from be oneself (because the pleasure is based on what corresponds to the human being – operatio sibi conveniens); but for Aquinas to be with a wise man is condelectatio too; In all of this type of delectatio, Aquinas distinguishes the hierarchy of the pleasure and indicates an interesting ‘anatomy of pleasure’, which contains three basics components: modo delectationum, boni delectati, potentiae delectantis. In this general mark of Thomas thought, I would like to present and analyze his reflections about the nature of jokes and ludic action. Homo ludens in Aquinas is characteristics by eutrapelia – is the virtue which places us in the ‘gold medium’ between the spirit of fun and the seriousness excess and express balance (suavitas) and maturity of moral life.

Paper -b:
Despite a high degree of popularity which board games received in the high and late Middle Ages all over Europe, this entertainment also became the subject of a large amount of criticism and even acts of violent reactions. They occurred on the side of some ecclesiastical representatives, in their treatises, statutes of Church councils, synods, and in other legal regulations. Moreover, this condemnation of the games could also be observed in some secular literary works, whose authors presented a number of reasons why they considered these pastimes as undesirable or even harmful. This paper focuses on such hints of criticism of mediaeval board games (chess and tabula) and the aim of the analysis conducted by the author is to determine why such intellectual pursuits, which board games and chess in particular certainly were, provoked so much ardent opposition.