Roman gaming board frm Scotland

Contributed by The Hunterian

Roman gaming board frm Scotland

This object from the collection of the Hunterian Museum was chosen, and written about, by Dione Reid, honours student, Department of History, University of Glasgow.

I chose this item because it represents the more civilised recreational side of the Roman era which is often overlooked by the historian in favour of more savage battles and entertainment such as those undertaken in amphitheatres throughout the Empire.

This stone fragment measuring 5 by 3 cells at its widest point is from the board of the game 'Ludus Lutrunculi', probably originally measuring 12 by 8 squares. Although it resembles our version of draughts, this highly popular Roman game is now widely recgonised as a game of military tactics; its name roughly translating as "the game of little robbers". It is believed that both players started out with 15 pieces plus a 'king' or 'dux' and the aim is to capture all of the opponent's pieces.

Ludus Lutrunculi is thought to have derived from an earlier Greek game known as 'petteia', references to which can be found in the work of Homer.

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