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Luxury Board Games for the Northern Greek Elite

Abstract : Board games were played in ancient Greece since at least the Bronze Age. Written sources distinguish between two main types of board games, πεττεία (games with counters only) and κυβεία (games with dice, that can also be played with counters). Their archaeological traces are found in various places, such as engraved on the marble floors and benches of sanctuaries, or on theater seats. In funerary contexts, sets of counters were most likely accompanied by wooden boards that usually did not survive. This paper discusses the finds from northern Greece (boards, dice, and counters) that attest to the practice of gaming from the archaic period onwards and throw light on its social and religious dimension. The luxury versions of gaming sets with glass counters are exclusively found in graves of the male élite. In some contexts, such as the tomb of the high priest and doctor in Derveni grave B (4th century BCE), ludic material belongs to high status as well as imply a possible divinatory use.
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Despina Ignatiadou. Luxury Board Games for the Northern Greek Elite. Archimède : archéologie et histoire ancienne, UMR7044 - Archimède, 2019, pp.144-159. ⟨halshs-02927454⟩

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