In 1616 Augustus, the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, published the first German chess book under the pseudonym "Gustavas Selenus." "Gustavas" is an anagram of "Augustus" with one "u" replaced by a "v." "Selenus" comes from "Selene," Greek goddess of the moon, a reference to Luneburg (Luna is Latin for the moon.) In addition to chess instruction, this book contained excellent illustrations of contemporary chess pieces. German chess pieces at the time tended to be slender with stacked floral crowns. The book was so successful that pieces of this pattern became known as "Selenus" pieces. Like St.George and Regence this name is ahistorical that way. Such pieces became ever taller, thinner, and more elaborate as time went on. Their floral nature leads some to call them "garden" or "tulip" sets. The word "Selenus" is, then, a reference to the moon. I think the name fits well. If any common pre-Staunton set is the chess set of the moon, truly it is the Selenus set. Selenus pattern sets were commonly made in Germany and Central Europe until about 1914 when they were replaced by the more practical Staunton pattern. My two two Selenus sets are some of the best in my collection.

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