In medieval chess, each of the eight pawns was associated with a commoner’s occupation. From king rook pawn to queen rook pawn:
- Laborer (farmer)
- City watchman or guard
- Ribald or town courier
The merchant stood before the king, the doctor before the queen.
Jacopo de Cessolis used the game as the basis for a series of sermons on morality — he says that a philosopher invented the game to show his cruel king “the maners and conditicions of a kynge of the nobles and of the comun people and of theyr offices and how they shold be touchid and drawen. And how he shold amende hymself & become vertuous.”
(From Christopher Kleinhenz’s Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, 2004.)