CNET Crave

CNET Australia Podcast

Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Ancient Egyptian D20 the oldest in the world?

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Were the ancient Egyptians the inventors of Dungeons and Dragons?

Short answer: no. But it's fun to imagine.

Dice have been around for millennia — the numbered cubes date back at least 5000 years in Asia, and are excavated from digs all over the ancient world. However, these three pieces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art are thought to be the oldest D20s ever found, hailing back to the Ptolemaic dynasty somewhere between 340 and 30 BC.

The facets are carved with what looks like Greek letters (which makes sense, considering Egypt's long association with Greece, including rule by a Greek family — the Ptolemies), but otherwise their provenance is largely unknown. They were collected by Reverend Chauncey Murch between 1883 and 1906 while he was on missionary in Egypt. He died in 1907, and his collection was donated to the museum by his estate in 1910.

We do know that the Ancient Egyptians played board and dice games, but it is unknown what these dice were used for. We're just going to go with D&D. It's more fun that way.

You can find the three dice, with zoomable images, on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website here, here and here.

Via io9.com



Add Your Comment 2


Post comment as
 

NikosB posted a comment   
Greece

so... a dice with greek letters in an area under heavy greek presence ...and it's egyptian... with greek letters... like an egyptian wouldn't make one in egyptian for some reason... did greeks have dice in egyptian maybe? food for thought :D

 

Homer posted a comment   
Australia

The dices with greek letters are oracle dices.
http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/GAO.html

Greets
Homer




Sponsored Links

Recently Viewed Products