Article Summary: Ancient Roman Games

Hall, Mark A. and Forsyth, Katherine, “Roman rules? The introduction of board games to Britain and Ireland.” Antiquity, Dec2011, Vol. 85 Issue 330, p1325

Reviewed by: Maxwell Burke

The article I found was about board games that were discovered in Ireland and England but originated during the Roman Empire. The article discusses how there were two main tombs that were unearthed by archaeologists. One was located in in Northern Ireland and the Other in Southeastern Wales. It starts off discussing how games were first invented in the areas like Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. These games were basic but involved religious aspects like traveling to the afterlife. These games were then brought back to the Roman Empire during their conquest of Europe. Games were originally brought back for just the richest families because they were generally the only ones with free time. As the empire expanded these style of board games which involved dice rolling, detailed pieces, and patterned boards were adopted by Britain. The methods as to how these board games were spread throughout Europe is still a little hazy but archaeologists are almost certain that the games discovered in England, even though not exactly the same as the roman games, were influenced by Roman Empire table top games. Archaeologists are confident that these table top games spread to Ireland after they were spread to England. The games that were discovered in an Irish tomb displayed the same similarities as the ones discovered in Rome and parts of South East Wales. The pieces discovered were similar to the ones in England and Rome as well as the all of game boards having similar designs. The biggest similarity was that all of the boards appeared to be two player games. All of the games possessed two different sets of pieces which made it obvious that two players were necessary for these games. Also the Latin and Celtic terms for games possessed many similarities leading towards the fact that games from Ireland were originally played in Rome. The one fact that all archaeologists can agree on is that games have been a unifying trait for all civilizations. Games have been a unifying trait that all nations possess. As long as games exist there will always be that one aspect that brings down the barriers between different nations or ethnicities.















Works Cited

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