What games did the ancient Romans play?

They often played morra (Latin for micatio). To do this, you had to raise your hand and sharply lower it down, shout out a number, showing several fingers. The goal of the game, as we know, is to guess in advance the sum of the fingers on the hands of both players. A similar game is played by modern Italians, and it is a veritable archaeological find, like the ones we see in museum showcases. And she's not the only one. On the streets of Rome, they played with a coin and cast lots. At the same time, they did not say "heads or tails", but "ships or heads" (navia aut capita), because early coins once depicted the head of the two-faced god Janus on one side, and the bow of a galley on the other. Over time, the images changed, but the expression remained the same and has survived to this day through billions of coins tossed into the air over the centuries.

Another game that has come down to us is typical of Roman streets: it's even and odd (in Rome it is called par impar). In fact, the game is a little different from the modern one: you have to guess the number of pebbles that your opponent is holding in his fist.

In Trajan's Rome there was a saying: "This man is so honest that you can play with your fingers in the dark ..."

The most widespread game of chance was dice.

But at the same time, gambling in Rome was prohibited. So is the bet (outside the Circus Maximus and Colosseum). The law clearly states: punishment in the form of a fine up to four times the stake at stake. In addition, gambling debts are not recognized by Roman law, so no lawyer can help recover money lost in gambling.

And yet everyone played. Indeed, although the law condemns betting and gambling, the authorities turned a blind eye to this and no one carried out checks. The main thing is not to play in daylight: therefore, all such games were held "closed". The setting was more often similar to those shown in films about poker players. Of course, playing cards will appear only after many centuries. In the meantime, they have been successfully replaced by bones (tesserae).

The players lost fortunes at times. Many even found their own death. There were also "marked" bones. For example, this: inside the bone is hollow and closed with two plugs. On the outside, she had to look perfect. But a lead "weight" was attached to one of the inner sides, so that the bone more often fell out on a certain side.

The dice were thrown in two, three or four, depending on the game, with the help of a terracotta glass (fritillus) with a funny leg: it seems as if it had been broken off. Therefore, the glass is unstable and fell at any touch. Perhaps this is a way to avoid someone slipping a secret bone into it.

The rules are the same as always. Points are calculated on those sides of the bones that fell up. Different combinations of the dropped points are called differently. When all the bones were hit by a 1, clearly an unsuccessful throw, they said that it was a "dog's point". And if all

the dice showed the largest number, six, then they said that the "point of Venus" fell.