Gaming in Ancient Rome

Ancient Roman Die - d20A friend sent me a link for something really interesting, it’s an auction by Christie’s for a d20 from Ancient Rome! It looks like the Caesars may have been playing D&D pre-1st Edition.

From the site:

Circa 2nd Century A.D.
Deep blue-green in color, the large twenty-sided die incised with a distinct symbol on each of its faces
2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm.) wide

Acquired by the current owner’s father in Egypt in the 1920s.

Several polyhedra in various materials with similar symbols are known from the Roman period. Modern scholarship has not yet established the game for which these dice were used.

Also of particular interest to us is that apparently it currently is the property of a Maryland Fine Arts professor. For just $17,925 it looks like you could possess the potential source of the first critical hit…or fumble.

I think we all know what game they were using it for…


  1. Alea iacta est!

  2. I wonder what a D20 Modern Game would have been like in Rome

  3. “These rules for chariot races are completely unrealistic!”

  4. happyturtle says:


  5. Reverend Mike says:

    I wonder what that pantheon would’ve looked like…

  6. Oh, y’know, Ra the Sun God, Osirus, etc.

    Y’know, fantasy!

    Graham’s last post: Final thoughts after marathon 4e release day events

  7. The_Gun_Nut says:


  8. Reverend Mike says:

    Graham, man…

    My group said pretty much the same thing…’course on the on-chance that Eqyptians/Norse/everybody else played as well, they pretty much just pass their pantheons around…

    Not that they’re all fairly similar in a lot of ways anyway…