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The Game of Fortresses

This site created by, and Copyright of, Chris Jones 1 January 1998


In the 17th & 18th Centuries knowledge of the science of fortification was considered a vital part of every Gentleman's education. Similarly, and it should perhaps not need saying, the officer class of each army was expected to be fully conversant with the art also.

It will perhaps be no surprise to learn then that playing cards were published bearing a potted exposition of the art of fortress construction. Indeed, one particular edition was published in 1763 by a Monseur Daumont - under the patronage of King Louis XVI of France - in order to edify the noble sons of France studying at the Ecole Royale Militaire [Royal Military Academy]. It was published under the title Jeu Des Fortifications [The Game of Fortifications]. The obvious hope was that the King's students would at least learn while they frittered away their time at cards!

Happily, Daumont's cards have survived down to this day. They provide an excellent aid to anyone striving to appreciate the constuction and layout of 17th & 18th Century permanent fortifications. This web site is devoted to making Daumont's cards available to those military history enthusiasts who have an interest in fortification. They should be of particular interest to those persons familiar with the work of Marshal Vauban [1633-1707] whose thinking dominated military engineering up until the time of the French Revolution.

The aim is, in time, to feature all of the cards, reproducing each one along with an English translation of the text Daumont used to accompany his illustrations. Where appropriate I will also add some commentary of my own.

As you would expect, there are four suits in the deck. To begin with only Daumont's cards making up the suit of Diamonds are available for download/viewing. I hope to add the other suits at quarterly intervals, beginning in early April, so that all are available to the visitor by the end of 1998.

Click on the links below to go to the index for each suit.

Diamonds

And, to be available at quartery intervals throughout 1998
Hearts Spades Clubs



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