Board Games of Ancient Greece
a website devoted to board games

24.02.2017

Board Games of Ancient Greece

Greece has been the land of games; the world famous Olympic Games mark their origin from the country of Greece. There are innumerous games that have been the integral part of the Greek culture; each game is unique in style and method. Among the large range of games, are the board games that were immensely popular there since the ancient days of civilization. Researches and studies reveal interesting facts that explore wonderful realities about the sports of ancient Greece. In this connection, historians and researchers went through a crisis in finding out details about these board games, as most of the records are lost or damaged in course of time. As a consequence, much effort has been put forward by the researchers to unearth the facts and details of ancient Greek culture and their amusements. Playing board games was akin a culture; it was very popular in this country and people of all classes liked to play these games.

One interesting fact about the board games of Greece is that most of them were based on the glorification of the war of Athens and Troy. There was variety of board games that were popular in the ancient Greece. Among those many larger varieties of games were “Mega Zatrikion” that was an excavation of primeval Troy. There were many games in the Homer’s circle. Some of the board games that were commonly played in ancient Greece are, “chora pezin”, “pente gramme”, “gramme”, “poleis”, “diagrammismos”, “tilia”, “polis” and many more. All of these games are altogether known by the name of “pettia” that was a generic term for all the board games of Greece. Most of the board games that were popular were largely based on the concept of any other outdoor sports or any societal system in general.

After a lot of research, it has been discovered that there are certain common characteristics of these games. In this connection it has been found that the ancient games of board were mainly played with dice or knuckle-bones. Some of those games that were played with such dice or knuckle-bones are “pessi”, “cotta”, “kyvia” and many more. Most of the time, the boards had six or twelve systems to play. Normally, there were two players to play each of the board games and they used to sit facing each other. In these games, most of the characters and game dices used to carry a lot of painted images on them. Some of the games surprisingly used to contain images from Egypt and this was perhaps the reason why many of the historians stress upon the Egyptian influence upon the art and culture of Greece altogether. In addition to this, many of the board games were also evolved from the Egyptian concepts. For example the board game “tavli”, is supposed to be drawn from Egypt. Whatever the source and nature of the games might have been, it is certain that board games were tremendously popular in ancient Greece.
May 13, 2008, 2:20 pm


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