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Soldiers playing dice!!!

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: All Empires Community
Forum Name: Historical Amusement
Forum Description: For role playing and alternative history discussions.
Printed Date: 21-Jun-2018 at 20:55
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 -

Topic: Soldiers playing dice!!!
Posted By: Ponce de Leon
Subject: Soldiers playing dice!!!
Date Posted: 30-May-2006 at 17:36
    Anybody know any dice games that soldiers use to play?? Maybe dice games that ancient soliders played? Be interesting finding out how they played and killed over some winnings!!

Posted By: Yiannis
Date Posted: 31-May-2006 at 03:30
Exekias vase
That's the most famus depiction of board games in Ancient Greece.
Some abstracts from various sites:
The game of jacks was actually played with the anklebone of a sheep or a cow; a bone that was known as the ‘astragalos’ by the Greeks and the ‘talus’ by the Romans. Originally, these were used to predict the future. But later, knucklebones became a game of skill played mostly by girls. Boys, on the other hand, used the bones as dice in a game of chance, whereby a particular value was attributed to each of the four, quite distinct sides of the bone.

The yo-yo too was known to the Greeks. It is pictured on a vase dating from 440 B.C. After that, all trace of the game was lost until the end of the 18th century, when the yo-yo re-emerged in Europe via China.

The most popular board games in ancient Greece were a game of siege called ‘polis’ and ‘the game of the five lines’, in which the central line or ‘sacred line’ had a special significance. The exact rules of this game have been lost, but it is believed to have been a combination of draughts and Nine Men’s Morris. The popularity of this game is evident from the fact that it is pictured on no less than seventy vases.

The Roman game of ‘latroncules’ was a game of strategy with a military origin, as is evident from the names of the pieces, such as ‘soldiers’ and ‘mercenaries’. The ‘game of twelve letters’ or ‘Ludus duodecim scriptorum’ owes its name to the three lines of twelve letters. Though the name would suggest that this is a word game, it is actually a game related to backgammon.

"Alea iacta est" - the dice is cast. As Caesar crossed the Rubico, he realized that this action would determine the future of Rome. Dicing, by the way, was very popular with people from all walks of life. It was played a lot in garrison towns, as appears from the many dice that have been unearthed in such places. Certain illustrious Emperors set an example: in their huge palaces there were even special dicing rooms. Nero sometimes played for 400,000 sestertia per throw; the equivalent of 400 soldiers’ pay. And the equally notorious Emperor Caligula, for his part, did not hesitate to ‘manipulate’ the dice. It appears that gambling and cheating already went hand in hand. -

The basis of a democratic state is liberty. Aristotle, Politics

Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

Posted By: Gargoyle
Date Posted: 31-May-2006 at 04:24
You can actually buy Ancient Roman dice. Depending on which period and condition, they usually go for around $100 - $500 (USD).

They are usually made from bone and are found quite often in Archaeological Digs.

Jugo de sandia es muy bueno!

Posted By: Maharbbal
Date Posted: 31-May-2006 at 21:06
At one point the spanish (hence catholic) captain Alonso de Contreras decieded to ban dieces from his ship. After a few days the all crew found various ways of betting money (ant races).

I am a free donkey!

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