Roman Dice

This mosaic from Tunisia illustrates three men sitting at a table playing a game of dice.

Roman dice were "tesserae" (plural). They were largely used for gambling, which was later made illegal, except during the Saturnalia festival. In Roman literature it is generally frowned upon as an immoral activity associated with drinking and violent arguments. It would appear, however, from the large number of dice found , that both the law and this moralising attitude were ignored by many inhabitants. Whilst most are what we would consider nowadays to be normal dice shapes, they actually come in lots of different shapes - and are made from a number of different materials, such as bone, lead, stone, marble, crystal as seen in the examples below

Lead Dice
This lead dice was found by detectorist Dave Ollis in the UK

Bone Dice

Flat Bone Dice

Crystal Dice

Facetted dice

Squatting figures dice

The opposite sides dont always add up to seven

 

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