Gambling in the Middle and Modern Ages

Ethical and aesthetic models for Europe

on the occasion of the 30th anniversary


The international conference organized on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th November by the Foundation and scheduled to take place at Palazzo Bomben on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th November, in collaboration with the Centre de Recherches Historiques of Paris (CRH, EHESS) and the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics of University College Dublin (SLCL, UCD).

Recent studies on ethics in the Middle and Modern Ages have stressed the eminently practical value of the concept of morals, understood as a set of behavioural rules and precepts to be adhered to in civil society. Games play a fundamental role within this framework: in the daily practices of courtly and ordinary social milieux, in treatises dealing with male and female comportment, in games themselves and in the texts written to describe them, the relationship between games and morals, from both a narrative and a prescriptive point of view, is constantly being pointed out and underlined. This international, interdisciplinary conference – organized on the occasion of the 30th anniversary – sets out to propose new considerations, from a historiographical and other perspectives, of the ethical function attributed to ludic activities in the Middle and Modern Ages, of the many aspects it stressed and forms it took, and of the ways games were not only described but also interpreted and exploited in moral terms.

Conference programme


Friday 17th November, 10 am-6 pm

> 10-10.30 am

greetings from the authorities and introduction

> 10.30-12.30 am first session, Regulatory and devotional aspects of games

chaired by Alessandro Arcangeli (Università di Verona)

Silvana Vecchio (Università di Ferrara) and Carla Casagrande (Università di Pavia), Vices and virtues of game-playing: eutrapelia from the 13th to the 15th century

Alessandra Rizzi (Fondazione Benetton, Treviso-Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia), Church, games and social interactions in the Renaissance

Gherardo Ortalli (Fondazione Benetton, Treviso-Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia), Young people, ethics, games: the scholastic teaching of the Society of Jesus

> 2-3.30 pm second session, Games in and of literature

chaired by Amedeo Quondam (Sapienza Università di Roma)

Paolo Garbini (Sapienza Università di Roma), Conjugation of the verb giocare. Grammarians and games in Mediaeval Latin

Paolo Procaccioli (Università della Tuscia, Viterbo), Towards the Index and the decline of libri di sorti. The Oracolo by Girolamo Parabosco

Francesco Lucioli (University College Dublin), Courtly games, morality and chivalric poetry in the 1500s

> 4-5.30 pm third session, Games and gender

chaired by Alessandra Rizzi

Vanina Kopp (Institut historique allemand, Paris), Gender in the city. Poetry competitions and the ordering of interpersonal relations in French towns

Alessandro Arcangeli, Gender in games and games of gender in the ludic culture of the Renaissance in Europe

Umberto Cecchinato (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa), Dance, gender attitudes and violence in the Republic of Venice in the Renaissance


Saturday 18th November, 9.30 am-1 pm

> 9.30-11 am fourth session, Games and performance

chaired by Paolo Procaccioli (Università della Tuscia, Viterbo)

Pierre-Olivier Dittmar (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris), Ludic sociability in domestic spaces: a corpus of painted ceilings in the South of France

Francesca Aceto (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris), “The spiritual recreation of the good surveyor”. Notes on ludicity, the arts and sciences in the 15th and 16th centuries

Antonella Fenech Kroke (CNRS, Centre André Chastel, Paris), “Mattaccin tutti noi siamo”. Acrobatic games and bodily contortions

> 11.30-12.30 am concluding lecture

chaired by Gherardo Ortalli

Amedeo Quondam, Courtly games

> 12.30 am-1 pm conclusions