#ludus latrunculorum

Open Thread - Thurs 30 Nov 2023 - Ludus Latrunculorum

Ludus Latrunculorum

Hope everyone had a great holiday! I have not been in the mood to do much news/media reading in the last week so... how's about we learn about a game? One that proceeded, and perhaps in part gave birth, to chess?

Ludus latrunculorum was a very, very popular game amongst soldiers, and probably everyone else of the 'lower' classes, during the late Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. There is archaeological evidence for the game (here's a fairly recent find of a game board), consisting of the game boards and the pieces. There is a written evidence of the game, basically mentioning it being played by soldiers and others. But sadly, no writer discussed the rules of the game or how it was played in any detail.

A Ludus Latrunculum game board found after it was reused as flooring at the Roman fort of Vindolanda in Northern England from Archaeology.org