hist-games: Dice

David KUIJT kuijt at umiacs.umd.edu
Mon Mar 1 13:08:49 PST 1999

On Mon, 1 Mar 1999, Matthew Whitaker wrote:

> Off the top of my head, I agree with what you've said, and it sounds like
> you've done quite a bit of research, but I seem to remember a few references
> indicating that dice equaling seven on opposing sides was something that
> became standardized at some point.  I think it's late-ish --- towards the
> 15th/16th centuries, perhaps.

I don't care about "standardized" -- I am just telling you that I checked
every example I could find in a pair of trips to England, totalling
perhaps two dozen dice in six or seven locations (several museums in
London; the Jorvik center in York, the Roman baths in Caerleon, the Roman
finds in Caernarvon, the Portsmouth museum around the Mary Rose; and I
think one or two other places I can't remember -- one museum in Germany)
and every one, from Roman to Mary Queen of Scots, had opposite sides
adding to 7.

They may have been misshapen and uneven (startlingly so, in some cases),
but they always added to 7.

I make no claims whatsoever about an external "standardization" effort.
I'm just telling you what the surviving dice I saw were like.


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