Ancient Egyptian Games
The ancient Egyptians had
great lives and although they built a magnificent civilization by hard
work they never forgot leisure and recreation. The ancient Egyptians had
games to play as adults and children. Mostly board games were available
but also toys were made for the little children. The game of Senet was mostly played by adults.
Senet was a popular Ancient Egyptian board game. It was played mainly by
wealthy adults. The game symbolized the struggle of good against evil. The
evil forces tried to stop you from reaching the Kingdom of the god Osiris.
One of these games was found in the tomb of Hesy along with painting of it
and how to play. The rules of this game were very complex. It consisted of
a board with 30 holes, 3 rows and 10 columns. Most of the games used 7
pawns, sticks or knucklebones for each of the two players but some only
had 5. During the New Kingdom, the game of Senet had acquired a religious
and magical meaning which symbolized the passage of the deceased through
the other world with his resurrection dependant upon his/her ability to
win the game.
of the games used 7 pawns, sticks or knucklebones for each of the two players
but some only had 5. During the New Kingdom, the game of Senet had acquired a
religious and magical meaning which symbolized the passage of the deceased
through the other world with his resurrection dependant upon his/her ability to
win the game.
boards games of all quality have been discovered it is needless to say that the
games were played by all classes of people in Ancient Egypt.
King Tut was buried with 4 Senet boards. They were made of ivory and ebony. They were made with a drawer for game pieces and stood on 4 legs carved like bull's feet. More commonly, the board was made of plain, undecorated wood. The pieces would have been made of stone or wood. Almost all boards were made with a drawer.
Various types of board games have been
discovered such as Dogs and Jackals,
or Seega, and others such as 20-squares a similar type of game called 30 and 50
squares. Dogs and Jackals games and pieces have been found in tomb of Reny-Seneb.
Itís board was made of wood, ebony and ivory and shaped like a piece of
furniture and roughly measuring 15x10cm. It had 4 animal carved legs and the
board was made of ivory with a palm tree carved into it with fifty five holes.
There were drawers that held the ebony pawns that looked like a jackal and a
dogís head on a stick. Three coins were used to determine movements of the
pieces on the board and the first person with all pieces at the end won the
board game was Ouija. Ouija boards are Ancient Egyptian luck boards. They were
used to tell the future.
people think that Ouija is an evil spirit. I have played Ouija many times and
I'm here to tell you that he is nothing to be afraid of. Its wierd to have your
hands being pulled around a board, but it certainly isn't dangerous.
Ouija does wierd things, like zapping all over the board and landing on yes or
no instead of just moving to one.
way Ouija works is this: Two people place the board on their knees. A
heart-shaped "table" is placed on the board. The two people place all
fingers and their thumbs on the table. The first question you always ask is,
"Ouija, are you there?" and he answers yes, or doesn't answer at all.
Board games were popular with Egyptians of all ages
and all social classes. A favourite during the Old Kingdom was Mehen
, the game of the snake which was played on a one-legged table. The board bore
the picture of a coiled snake, either carved or inlaid. The body of the snake
was divided into squares. Up to six players used three lions, three lionesses,
white and red spheres, which were ranged in a box when the game was over. One of
the first Ancient Egyptian games ever found was Snake. The stone board
represented a snake coiled with its head in the centre. The winner was the first
person who moved their piece from the snake's tail to its head in the centre.
Like all other ancient Egyptian games, its rules are unknown. More than a dozen
sets of this game were found in first dynasty tombs, two of them with
beautifully carved ivory lions and lionesses. With them other objects were
found: some like little ivory houses with pointed roofs, some looking like
todays' chess king and rook. Other pieces were cylindrical, with a little sphere
Toys were almost always made of wood and/or clay. Tops, though, were made of powdered quartz that was shaped in a mold. Paddle dolls were made of wood and had a paddle-like shape that was decorated with paint and with hair made out of clay beads strung on twine.
The oldest toys ever found in Egypt, little toy boats carved from wood, came
from a child's tomb dating to the Predynastic Period. From the same period baked
clay animals and rattles have been discovered.
Lovely toys were made by the ancient Egyptians from wood, bone, ivory, ceramics and stone. Little children played with dolls of Nubians, toy animals, spinning tops and mechanical toys like crocodiles with moving jaws and Jumping Jacks. At el Lisht a toy made up of three carved ivory dancers was found. The figures were set in an ivory stand and could be made to spin by pulling strings. Ancient Egyptian children played with many toys. One of the more popular ones was balls made of hollow painted clay and filled with seeds. They played ball games standing, jumping high in the air, or even piggyback. These games were popular, especially with girls.
were made out of wood, with twine threaded with clay beads for hair. These were
called paddle dolls. They may have been for children, or they also may have been
to accompany the deceased in the afterlife.
animals with moving parts were very popular. A wooden toy mouse had a pull
string to make the tail go up and dowm. Toy horses were popular in Roman Egypt
because horses were used for hunting and in battle. A carved cat or lion was
popular for its movable lower jaw on a string. Toys were almost always made of
wood and/or clay. Tops, though, were made of powdered quartz that was shaped in
a mold. Paddle dolls were made of wood and had a paddle-like shape that was
decorated with paint and with hair made out of clay beads strung on twine.
were made of powdered quartz put in a mold and then glazed. These were
inexpensive and therefore could be found in most poor homes. They spun by
pulling a string or twisting fingers. Popular games for children were leapfrog
Children in poor families could play with tops because
they were very cheap to buy. A ball or rattle could probably be made of clay
from the Nile. Wooden dolls or animals were more expensive.
with papyrus and rags
.Ancient Egyptians had a lot of games. Some were for fitness and others were for fun. Hockey was played with long palm tree branches. The puck was made out of stuffed papyrus in-between two pieces of leather.
Some games were played with implements, balls being the most popular among them. With rubber
balls were made of a leather skin filled with chaff, dry papyrus reeds tied
tightly together, string or rags. Boys again preferred team . Boys again
preferred team sports (like the hockey like game in the left margin), while
girls generally went in for games which were less fiercely competitive.
Marble games are very ancient. A white and a black stone marble and three little
stones forming an arch seem to have been used in one such game which may have
been played like a sort of mini-skittles.
Boys played a spear throwing game in which one had to hit a target drawn on the ground, called after the god of the wine-press, Shezmu.
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