“A Roman glass die from the 2nd Century C.E., this die was discovered in Egypt in the 1920s. The discoverer passed the die on to his son, who became a professor of fine arts in Maryland. He must have been strapped for cash, because the die ended up in a Christie’s auction in 2003.

The die is just over 2 inches wide and deep blue-green in color. Each side is engraved with a different symbol. I’m no expert on the subject, but the symbols on the dice look more Greek than Roman to me.

While several such dice made of various materials have been discovered, scholars have not yet figured out what game they were used for. Maybe Romans played their own version of Dungeons & Dragons. Probably not.”


The symbols do, indeed look more Greek than Roman, however they aren’t familiar to me. Not Hieratic, Phoenician, or Celtic either. The circle with the dot is similar to a commonly used Sun-symbol, though… Perhaps they are astronomical? Certainly, two are instantly recognizable as zodiac symbols. I can’t recognize that A-like shape near the bottom at all, unless it’s a very stylized Punic Aleph.

7 planetary symbols, plus the zodiac makes 19. (Ophiuchus was not a zodiac constellation at that time.) This die appears to have has 20 sides, so I’m one symbol short. Perhaps it uses regional variants of common astronomical/astrological symbols? That is my best guess.

Proof the Ancient Romans played D&D


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s