Back to Iraq, the sequel!

Sorry for no postings

Ancient Roman dungeonmastering

This is the weirdest thing I’ve seen all week. Over at Christie’s, there’s a 20-sided die for sale — that dates back to the 2nd century A.D. (It’s pictured above.) These days, of course, the 20-side die is best known as a central element in any game of Dungeons and Dragons; it’s the original generator of randomness in geek culture. But what in hell were the Romans doing with these things?

As it turns out, nobody knows. From the auction writeup notes:

Several polyhedra in various materials with similar symbols are known from the Roman period. Modern scholarship has not yet established the game for which these dice were used.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson