Dices and Board Games

Alea iacta est. Not without reason did the Romans have a passion for games of dice (alea)! All walks of life were ´infected´ by the exciting game with the six-eyed buddies, from the slave up to the emperor.

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Board Games & Dice of the Romans

The Romans played dice everywhere: during banquets and in thermae or taverns. Playing dice was always a loud and passionate event. You can be sociable, too, as soon as you roll the antique dice from the Roman Shop’s category Roman Games – either with acclaim or loud disappointment.

The real bone dice are manufactured according to antique models: The eyes on the bone dice of the Romans – and on this website – from one to six are marked by rather large circles. Preserved examples can be seen in many museums of antiquity. The Romans also already knew the dice cup (fritillus) – probably to avoid cheating. That didn’t always work, though, because there were many Roman dice which had uneven cube edges!

Roll the Roman Dice!

The Roman game of dice with Knucklebones was called tali. Those were real Knucklebones from animals (the connection between the heel and calf) or made from stone, clay and other materials. The tali could only fall on one of four cube edges, which had the values one, two, three and six. The best result was the Venus-Throw (Venus; Venereus), when all four dice would show different values. The worst roll was called “dog” (canis; probably four times one).

Roll the dice as passionately as the Roman with this parlor game! Or get into Roman board games: The board game Duodecim scripta, also called “Twelve Lines Game”, was mostly played during the Roman imperial period. In Rome alone over 100 board games have been found! The game itself can be compared to modern Backgammon´. Most games were created from marble. The wooden Duodecim scripta has been made in accordance with the original Roman board game for two players.

Gaming Prohibited

From time to time, betting was outlawed in Rome, for this reason the board game consisted of six Latin words, each with six letters, which often also had philosophical meaning. On the whole, there are 36 fields to roll the dice and kick the 15 gaming tokens of each player from the board. So, let’s go: Let the dice roll in joyful society and enjoy the circle of your takers during an exciting game!

Ancient report about games of dice

“Children already rather learned to enjoy the “auspicious six” and to detest the “cursed dog”, instead of learning the “turgid speeches of the dying Cato”.
(Pers. III 45 ff.)