Medieval Europe is characterized by 1,000 years of disease, death, and darkness. To learn more about Medieval Europe, see Resource 1.
During the Middle Ages, ivory from elephant trunks was extremely rare and expensive. Therefore, elephant ivory was used to make expensive and precious things, like religious artifacts. Walrus ivory could be imported from Scandinavia and other regions in northern Europe. It was less expensive and more readily available. Common items, like the chess pieces in Resource 2, were made from walrus ivory. To learn more about trade during the middle ages, see Resource 2.
Chess was not invented in Europe, but in India about 1500 years ago. It spread from India to Persia, and then to Southern Europe through the expansion of the Islamic Arabian Empire. The game has evolved over centuries but took on its modern form in Europe. To learn more about the history of chess, see Resource 3.
Fragment of a Diptych Activity Guide