Roman Dice Tower, Turricula

Product No.:647201
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Roman Dice Tower (Turricula)

Wooden assembling kit of a Roman dice tower, inspired by the find from Vettweiss-Froitzheim in Germany. The kit is a further development of our 2015 model. It contains many additional decorative components as well as bells on the spout of the tower. In the lower area, steps are incorporated, pine cones and profiled decorations adorn the front. The dolphin figures are now plastically doubled, with a file or a dremel you can give them an even more  plastic appearance. An additional "catch fence"  prevents the dices from falling of the table. Since this component is not present in the original, it can be plugged in or removed as desired.
If you want, you can paint the 20 cm high dice tower like the original one. Of course, the dice tower is not only suitable for authentic Roman board games, but the turricula can also successfully prevent manipulations with modern party games. He's also simple fun!

It is a kit from unpainted 3mm plywood that requires assembly. All components are precisely pre-cut, the kit can be assembled and glued within a very short time. Adhesive and paint is not included, the pictures show suggestions.

BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS: Click here!
 

Dice Games in Ancient Rome

Dice games were a popular pastime in antiquity, although gambling did not enjoy a good reputation even then. Sometimes, the stake were not just a few copper coins, but whole fortunes, slaves, or other possessions. Back then as now, gambling addiction was a common vice that people tried to stop. A law from the republican period equates even a game profit with looted property of a theft. Compliance with the ban was controlled by the Aedile police force.
Especially in the numerous pubs, however, flourished the illegal gambling, which was also tolerated during the frivolous holidays of Saturnalia again. Numerous ancient authors were worried about the salvation of the lucky players, who not only ruined their own lives, but also as bad examples led the youth to dice gaming. Of course, the dice game was also widespread in soldiers' circles, where the pay was redistributed quickly.
Despite all restrictions, even emperors indulged in the dice game. Augustus, Domitian, Vitellius, Claudius - hardly anyone used the game with the dice for distraction. Caligula is even said that to have been a cheater playing with unfair tricks. However, hardly anyone would have dared to protest against it.

Occasionally dices were also used in the religious field to see the future and determine omens.

Dice games could either be played only with dice, or the dice were used to play a board game, as can be seen on some antique illustrations. Popular was "Duodecim Scripta", a form of today's backgammon. Drinking games have also been handed down in which one player had to drink as much as his opponent diced.

Dices were available in numerous variants. In addition to the known six-sided dice, there were also those with eighteen or twenty sides, rod-shaped cubes and those in the form of small figures. Also popular were the ankle bones of goats, which were used as Astragal dices as cheap game pieces.

Wherever a lot of money was played, the trick was not far away. In addition to the use of gezinkten cubes could be cleverly manipulated even when throwing. To prevent this, the Romans developed special dice cups and dice towers (turricula), which should exclude a corresponding fraud.

 

Roman Dice Tower (Turricula) - The Original Find

The original was discovered in 1984 in Vettweiss-Froitzheim on the site of a Roman Villa Rustica. In addition to the illustrations and a wooden find from Qustul in Egypt, this piece is the only preserved dice tower from Roman times. The Turricula from Vettweiss-Froitzheim consists of 4 ornate bronze plates with several stairs in the interior, over which the dices jump. In addition to the pure functionality, the tower was also richly decorated. Two dolphin figures flank the exit of the dice tower. Of other parts unfortunately only fragments have been preserved. Three bells seem to have been fastened over the exit, slowing down the dice and ringing every time they were hit.
The dice tower carries the circulating inscription "UTERE FELIX VIVAS", meaning "Use it happily, may you live". The inscription on the front reads "PICTOS VICTOS / HOSTIS DELETA / LUDITE SECURI": The Picts are defeated, the enemies destroyed, playing safe. Due to the inscription, the piece can probably date back to the 4th century, with a connection with the Picts wars of Emperor Constans 342/343 AD or the campaign of Emperor Theodosius in the northern borderlands 368/369 AD is likely.


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The motto on the dice tower seems to refer to the Roman game "Duodecim Scripta". Three rows of 2 words each were formed, each consisting of 6 letters. This results in 3 x 12 pitches. There are surviving marble game boards that contain inscriptions such as LUDITE SECURI / QUIBUS AESAT / SEMPER INARCA ("Rest assured that you always have money in the cash register") or SITIBI TASSEL / LAFARE TEGOTE / STUDIO VINCAM (actually Si tibi tessela faret ego te studio vincam, "Even if the luck of the dice is favorable to you, I will defeat you by thinking"). The examples show that sometimes the ancient romans were creative with grammar and spelling in order to bring the sentences into the required shape. On the basis of a board from Ostia, that instead of a saying the playing field is divided into different groups by letters, the rules can be plausibly reconstructed. The game was played with flat pieces numbered 1 to 15 (I to XV). Both players placed their stones on the middle row of the fields and had to try to pull them over the field in a similar way to today's backgammon. It was played with 3 dices, where you could either add the eyes to the turn with a single token or according to the eyes distributed on 3 pieces. Also a move with 2 stones is possible, where you had to add the value of 2 dice. The winner was the one who had his pieces first from the field.

 

 Duodecim Scripta, antiker Spieltisch- Quelle:Wikipedia

 

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