Translations of the Linné diary description of Tablut.

The Finnish linguist Olli Salmi is working on a new translation of the Linné diary description of the Saami board game Tablut.
The work in progress of Salmi is found here: http://www.uusikaupunki.fi/~olsalmi/Tablut.html

Olli Salmi's translation is repeated in the table below, where I for comparison added three columns with the translations of John C. Ashton 2007, Nicolas Cartier 2011 and Carl Troilius 1811.





Olli Salmi
1.12.2013 [updated 5.12.2013]
Translation of Linnaeus's rules for the Sámi game that he calls Tablut
The Latin text is from the 2003 edition.

Tablut. (Linné's diary as published 1889 and 2003) Dab'lo (Olli Salmi translation 2013) (John C. Ashton translation 2007) (Nicolas Cartier translation 2011) (Carl Troilius translation, published by James Edward Smith 1811)
1. Arx regia. Konokis Lappon., cui nullus succedere potest. 1. The fort of the king (gånågis in Sámi), which nobody can enter. 1. Royal Citadel. Konokis in Lapp, which none can enter. 1. Citadelle royale. Konokis en lapon où nul ne peut pénétrer. Fig. 1, is the king, whose station is in the central square or royal castle, called konokis by the Laplanders, to which no other person can be admitted.
"Succedere" with dative seems to mean "enter".
2 et 3. Sveci N:r 9 cum rege et eorum loca s. stationes. 2 & 3. Swedes, 9 of them with the king and their squares or positions. 2 & 3. Swedes number 9 together with king and they are arranged as shown. 2 et 3. Les suédois au nombre de 9 avec le roi et leurs positions. Fig. 2, represents one of the eight Swedes his subjects, who, at the commencement of the game, are stationed in the eight squares, adjoining to the royal castle, marked 2 and 3.
4. Muscovitarum stationes omnes in prima aggressione depictæ. 4. The  positions of the Mucovites at the beginning of the attack. 4. Muscovites station all men at the start of the attack as depicted. 4. Toutes les positions des Moscovites dessinées au premier assaut. Fig. 3, is one of sixteen Muscovites, their adversaries, who occupy the sixteen embroidered squares, (some of them marked 4 in the cut,) situated four together in the middle of each side of the field.
0. Vacua loca1 occupare cuique licitum, etiam Regi, idem valet de locis characterisatis praeter arcem. 0. Empty squares can be occupied by any piece, also the King. This also applies to the specially marked squares except the fort. Other. Empty spaces can be occupied by any piece legally, including the King; this applies for all labeled spaces except a citadel. O. Les espaces vacants occupés licitement, de même pour le roi, étant de même pour les espaces caractéristiques excepté la citadelle. The vacant squares, distinguished by letters, may be occupied by any of the pieces in the course of the game.
"Praeter" means "in front of", but it can also mean "except" (Cartier's suggestion), which is is very precise in the context. Linnaeus could have used numbers but this is shorter.


Leges Rules
1. Alla få occupera och mutare loca per lineam rectam, non vero transversam, ut a ad c non vero a ad e. 1. Any piece may occupy a square and move from one square to another in a straight line but not diagonally, as from a to c, but not from a to e. 1. All pieces can occupy and move to a space by means of a straight line, not obliquely, as a to c not as a to e. 1. Toutes les pièces occupent et se déplacent en ligne droite, non obliquement, de a vers c et non de a vers e. 1. Any piece may move from one square to another in a right line, as from a to c; but not corner-wise, or from a to e.
"Alla få occupera och", Swedish, "all can occupy and".
2. Nulli licitum sit locum per lineam rectam alium supersalire, occupare, ut a b ad m, alio aliqvo in i constituto. 2. It is not allowed to pass over any other piece that may be in the way, or to move into its place, for instance, from b to m, in case any were stationed at i or somewhere else(?). 2. It is not permitted to go to a space by means of a straight line if jumping another occupied space, as from b to m, if in the process i is occupied. 2. Il n'est pas légal de se déplacer en ligne droite en sautant un autre espace occupé, de b vers m, si dans la procédure i est occupé. 2. It is not allowed to pass over the heads of any other pieces that may be in the way, or to move, for instance, from b to m, in case any were stationed at e or i.
"Constituto" participle "placed". Cartier translates "alio aliquo" as "in the procedure".
3. Si Rex occuparet locum b et nullus in e, i et m positus esset, possit exire, nisi2 mox muscovita aliqvod ex locis nominatis occupat, et Regi exitum præcludit. 3. If the king should stand in b, and no other piece in e, i, or m, he may escape by that road, unless one of the Muscovites immediately gets possession of one of the squares in question, so as to interrupt him. 3. If the King occupies space b and no one is in e, i and m, he can leave, as long as a Muscovite cannot block the King in the next turn. 3. Si le roi occupe b et personne n'est positionné en e, i et m, il peut partir, sauf si un Moscovite occupe un des espaces nommés et barre la sortie du Roi. 3. If the king should stand in b, and no other piece in e, i, or m, he may escape by that road, unless one of the Muscovites immediately gets possession of one of the squares in question, so as to interrupt him.
4. Si Rex tali modo exit, est prælium finitum. 4. If the king be able to accomplish this, the contest is at an end. 4. If the King's escape is possible, the game is over. 4. Si le Roi sort de la façon suivante, la bataille est terminée. 4. If the king be able to accomplish this, the contest is at an end.
5. Si Rex in e collocaretur, nec ullus s. ejus s. hostis miles esset in f g sive i m, tum aditus non potest claudi. 5. If the king happens to be in e, and none of his own people or his enemies either in f or g, i or m, his exit cannot be prevented. 5. If the King is positioned in e, and neither his own nor hostile soldiers are in f and g or i and m, his escape cannot be stopped. 5. Si le Roi est positionné en e, et aucun de ces soldats et des soldats ennemis ne sont en f et g ou i et m, son accès ne peut être bloqué. 5. If the king happens to be in e, and none of his own people or his enemies either in f or g, i or m, his exit cannot be prevented.
6. Ut Rex aditum apertum vidit, clamet Raichi, si duæ viæ apertæ sunt tuichu. 6. Whenever the king perceives that a passage is free, he must call out ra'ige 'hole' and if there be two ways open, duoi dokku 'hither and thither'. 6. If the King sees a clear escape route, he calls out Raichi; if two open routes exist, tuicha. 6. Si le Roi voit un accès libre, il dit Raichi; si deux routes sont libres, il dit Tuicha. 6. Whenever the person who moves the king perceives that a passage is free, he must call out raichi, and if there be two ways open, tuichu.
7. Licitum est loca dissita occupare per lineam rectam, ut a c ad n, nullo intercludente. 7. It is allowable to move ever so far at once, in a right line, if the squares in the way be vacant, as from c to n. 7. It is permissible to move as far as possible along a straight line, as from c to n, if nobody is blocking. 7. Il est licite d'occuper des espaces éloignés le long d'une ligne droite, comme de c vers n, si rien ne bloque. 7. It is allowable to move ever so far at once, in a right line, if the squares in the way be vacant, as from c to n.
8. Svecus et muscovita in gressibus alternant. 8. The Swedes and the Muscovites take it by turns to move. 8. Swedes and Muscovites move in alternate turns. 8. Suédois et Moscovites se déplacent alternativement. 8. The Swedes and the Muscovites take it by turns to move.
9. Si qvis hostem 1 inter 2 sibi hostes collocare possit, est occisus et ejici debet, etiam Rex. 9. If a player can move so that the enemy is between two of his pieces, it is killed and taken off, likewise the king. 9. If 1 piece finds itself positioned between 2 enemies, it is killed and must be thrown off the board, likewise for the King. 9. Si une pièce se trouve entre deux ennemis, elle est capturée et doit être écartée, pareillement pour le roi. 9. If any one man gets between two squares occupied by his enemies, he is killed and taken off, except the king, who is not liable to this misfortune.
"Possit" present subjunctive, "be able to"
10. Si Rex in arce 1 et hostes in 3bus ex N:r 2, tum abire potest per qvartum, et si ejus in 4to locum occupare potest, si ita cinctus et miles in 3 collocatur, est inter regem et militem qvi stat occisus, si qvatuor hostes in 2, tum rex captus est. 10. If the king, being in his own square or castle, is encompassed on three sides by his enemies, one of them standing in each of three of the squares numbered 2, he may move away by the fourth.

If one of his own people happens to be in this fourth square, and one of his enemies in number 3 next to it, the soldier thus enclosed between his king and the enemy is killed.

If four of the enemy gain possession of the four squares marked 2, thus enclosing the king, he becomes their prisoner.
10. If the King is in citadel 1 and enemies in 3 of the places numbered 2, he can go through to the fourth; if his own man is occupying the 4th place, and if that soldier in 2 is positioned between the king and an enemy soldier, it is killed. If four enemies are in 2, the king is captured. 10. Si le roi est dans la citadelle 1 et ses ennemis dans 3 des places numérotées 2, alors il peut s'échapper par le quatrième espace et si un de ses hommes occupe le quatrième espace, si ce soldat positionné en 2 est entre le roi et un soldat ennemi, il est tué. Si quatre ennemis sont en 2, alors le roi est capturé. 10. If the king, being in his own square or castle, is encompassed on three sides by his enemies, one of them standing in each of three of the squares numbered 2, he may move away by the fourth. If one of his own people happens to be in this fourth square, and one of his enemies in number 3 next to it, the soldier thus enclosed between his king and the enemy is killed. If four of the enemy gain possession of the four squares marked 2, thus enclosing the king, he becomes their prisoner.
11. Si Rex in 2, tum hostes 3, sc. in a a et 3 erint, si capiatur.
11. If the king be in 2, with an enemy in each of the adjoining squares, a, α and 3, he is likewise taken. 11. If the King is in 2, and 3 enemies are in a, A and 3, he is captured. 11. Si le Roi est en 2, et trois ennemis sont en a, A et 3, il est capturé. 11. If the king be in 2, with an enemy in each of the adjoining squares, a, A and 3, he is likewise taken.
12. Rege capto vel intercluso finitur bellum et victor retinet svecos, devictus muscovitas et ludus incipiatur.
12. When the king is taken or imprisoned, the war is over, and the conqueror takes the Swedes, the loser the Muscovites, and the play starts all over.
12. The King being thus captured or hemmed in finishes the battle and the victor retains the Swedes he captured, claims the defeated Muscovites, and a new game can start. 12. Le roi étant ainsi capturé ou cerné termine la bataille et le vainqueur garde les Suédois, les Moscovites vaincus, et un jeu peut commencer. 12. Whenever the king is thus taken or imprisoned, the war is over, and the conqueror seizes all the Swedes, the conquered party resigning all the Muscovites that he had taken.
13. Muscovitas sine rege erint, suntque 16 in 43 phalangibus disponendis. 13. The Muscovites have no King and the 16 pieces are deployed in 4 units. 13. Muscovites exist without a king, being 16 divided into 4 ordered phalanxes. 13. Les Moscovites sont sans roi, sont 16 disposés en 4 phalanges.
14. Arx potest intercludere, æque ac trio[tertio?], ut si miles in 2 et hostis in 3 est, occiditur4. 14. The fort can block, as a third [piece], so if there is a soldier in 2 and enemy in 3, it is killed. 14. A citadel can block, just as a third piece, so that if a soldier is in 2 and an enemy in 3, he is killed. 14. Une citadelle peut bloquer, comme une troisième pièce, si bien que si un soldat est en 2 et un ennemi est en 3, il est tué.


Some attached notes of Olli Salmi's:

1 In the manuscript loco.
2 L. had written first si and then corrected it to ni.
3. 12 changed into 16, and 3 changed into 4 or 4 into 3.
4. Unclear., 1913 edition has occidat.


Cartier's interpretation that one cannot jump over the citadel and that the king cannot return to it is possible but not necessary, especially the latter. After all what is a citadel if not a place of refuge?

If corners are used as escape points, rule 14 applies to them.

Original, 1889 edition
https://archive.org/stream/ungdomsskrifter02linne#page/n155/mode/2up
Translation 1811
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/36059/36059-h/36059-h.htm
The 1889 edition says that the translation into English was done by a young Swedish merchant, Carl Troilius, who was in London at the time (p. 3, footnote 1)

Differences compared to the 1889 edition: item Regi>etiam Regi, item Rex>etiam Rex, tuicha>tuichu, miles in 2 collocatur>miles in 3 collocatur





Aage Nielsen's notes.

These translations reveil the Linné Tablut to be the same as the "Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9" variant!


They also reveil that the Carl Troilius translation 1811 has some errors:

In return the Carl Troilius rule #1 about a re-enterable throne, is a likely clarification, as mentioned by Salmi above.


Damian Walker has also arrived at the Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9 variant very nearly, and he presents an effective argument for the point that the throne is hostile to the defenders, only when it's empty:

"An addition to the rules not found in Linnaeus' Latin text is the word "empty" in rule 7. This has been added because, without it, rule 11 would be completely redundant. As it is, rule 11 describes the one instance where a defending piece can be captured against the non-empty central square."


Apparently the Tablut rules distinguish between enclosing from 2 sides, which is called a kill, and surrounding from 4 sides, which is called a capture, an imprisonment.

Rule #4: "If the King's escape is possible, the game is over" can imply that if all the defenders' party, i.e. the king with all his men, is surrounded, then the king's escape is obviously not possible, and the defenders lose.
   Likewise if the white party cannot move anymore, the King's escape is obviously also impossible, and the defenders lose.


Also Nicolas Cartier and conanlibrarian advocated, both 2011, for Linné Tablut being essentially the same as Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9.
Nicolas Cartier's paper. (November 2011).
The tablut rules deducted by Nicolas Cartier, translated into English.
Conanlibrarian's translation of the Latin tablut rules. (December 2011).

John C. Ashtons original, full paper about the Latin text and tablut can be found here.



Updated 7.1.2014
1998-2014 Aage Nielsen;