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Sun Jun 14, 2020, 07:54 AM

Ancient Roman Board Game Reveals What Games Night Looked Like 1,700 Years Ago

(Bergen University Museum)


Let us introduce you to one of the board games played by the ancient Romans some 1,700 years ago: it's called ludus latrunculorum, and it looks like a version of it has been unearthed at a burial mound site in Norway.

The find comprises 19 playing pieces in total, including elongated dice that look more like writing implements than the little cubes we use today. This 'game of brigands' was thought to be similar to chess, draughts or backgammon, pitting players against each other in a challenge of military tactics.

The Ytre Fosse site in western Norway dates from the early Iron Age, around 300 CE, and is right by an important sea route known as the 'Nordvegen' or 'north way'. Some scholars think it was once so important, it's possible Norway actually takes its name from it.

It's very rare for archaeologists to come across a large set of pieces like this in Scandinavia, (unfortunately the board of the game is still missing), but the location of the find could explain what the game was doing here it could have been a way for traders to socialise or pass the time.


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