Seega and Rota Ancient Board Games, Romans vs Egyptians, Wooden Board and Pieces, Hand Painted, Double Sided

$120.00

Rare find — there's only 1 of these in stock.

Item details

Handmade

Materials

Maple, Linden, Wood

A wooden board game with two ancient games: Seega and Rota. The playing pieces are ancient Romans of the early Empire period vs ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom. The board is double sided and is made from a single piece of solid Maple. The pieces are hand made from Linden wood and hand painted.

What's included in the set:

1) Double sided wooden playing board with Seega on one side and Rota on the other side.
2) 12 Romans pieces and 12 Egyptians pieces
3) Playing Instructions for both games
4) Cotton cloth bag for the pieces
5) Cotton cloth napkin to put underneath the board.

About Seega:

Seega, or Sija (سيجة), as it is pronounced in Arabic, is an ancient Egyptian game, whose origins are unclear. There are carved Seega boards on a few different Egyptian temples, dating all the way back to the 1300s BCE, but it is not clear if the boards have been carved at the time of the temple’s construction or later in history. Seega has been continuously played in Egypt since the ancient times until today and its rules are known.

Rules for Seega have been published for the first time in 1836, in a book by Edward William Lane, called “An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians”. Lane traveled to Egypt twice, in the 1820s and 1830s, and observed Egyptian Bedouin and Felaheen (peasants) play various games, whose rules he recorded. Lane noted that the Egyptians employ various strategies while playing Seega, but he did not know what they were. In 1890, after Lane’s death, H Carrington Bolton, published strategy analysis for Seega in an article called “Seega, an Egyptian Game”. Finally, in 1892, both Lane’s and Bolton’s work have been combined in a general book about board games by Edward Falkener, called “Games Ancient and Oriental, and How to Play Them”, which popularized various ancient games in the western world.

Since Seega is a game of the Egyptian poor and nomads, it did not have fancy manufactured boards and pieces, as opposed to games like Senet, Aseb, Mehen, and Hounds and Jackals, all of which were the games of royalty and the wealthy. The Felaheen and the Bedouin simply dug holes in the sand to make a temporary playing board or carved them into rocks, and used pebbles of two different colors to play. It has been my observation, that in Egypt, for whatever reason, the wealthy preferred games of chance, where as the poor preferred games of strategy without a chance component.

About Rota:

Rota is a Roman game, found carved into stones on many Roman roads and buildings around the Roman Empire. Its original Roman name is unknown. The name Rota, which in Latin means “wheel”, was given to it by Elmer Truesdell Merrill, in his article about the game, published in 1916, where he brought it to the world’s attention for the first time. Merrill also recreated the rules for the game based on other similar games and it is his rules that are documented here.

There appears to be a description of the rules of Rota in two poems by Ovid, Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) (lines 362-366), written in 2 CE, and Tristia (lines 481-483). What’s confusing is that Ovid says that the game is divided into the same number of sections as there were months in the calendar year. The Roman calendar had 10 months prior to the Julian reform of Julius Caesar, which is what Ovid is referring to. However, the boards of Rota that are found carved into stones through out the Roman Empire all have 9 cells and not 10. So it is possible that Ovid is referring to another game or at least a different Rota board variation that had 10 cells. However, he clearly says how to win the game, by aligning 3 pieces in a row.

It should be noted that this description of what seems to be Rota is only valid according to J. Lewis May’s translation. According to Mozley’s translation in the Loeb Classical Library edition, this phrase refers to two different games, one of which is Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum (Duodecim Scripta), which had 12 lines, in a single section of the game, referring to post Augustan reform of the calendar with 12 months. And the other game is Nine Men’s Morris, which captured the opponent’s piece by placing two pieces around it on both sides, thus forming three pieces in a line.
A wooden board game with two ancient games: Seega and Rota. The playing pieces are ancient Romans of the early Empire period vs ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom. The board is double sided and is made from a single piece of solid Maple. The pieces are hand made from Linden wood and hand painted.

What's included in the set:

1) Double sided wooden playing board with Seega on one side and Rota on the other side.
2) 12 Romans pieces and 12 Egyptians pieces
3) Playing Instructions for both games
4) Cotton cloth bag for the pieces
5) Cotton cloth napkin to put underneath the board.

About Seega:

Seega, or Sija (سيجة), as it is pronounced in Arabic, is an ancient Egyptian game, whose origins are unclear. There are carved Seega boards on a few different Egyptian temples, dating all the way back to the 1300s BCE, but it is not clear if the boards have been carved at the time of the temple’s construction or later in history. Seega has been continuously played in Egypt since the ancient times until today and its rules are known.

Rules for Seega have been published for the first time in 1836, in a book by Edward William Lane, called “An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians”. Lane traveled to Egypt twice, in the 1820s and 1830s, and observed Egyptian Bedouin and Felaheen (peasants) play various games, whose rules he recorded. Lane noted that the Egyptians employ various strategies while playing Seega, but he did not know what they were. In 1890, after Lane’s death, H Carrington Bolton, published strategy analysis for Seega in an article called “Seega, an Egyptian Game”. Finally, in 1892, both Lane’s and Bolton’s work have been combined in a general book about board games by Edward Falkener, called “Games Ancient and Oriental, and How to Play Them”, which popularized various ancient games in the western world.

Since Seega is a game of the Egyptian poor and nomads, it did not have fancy manufactured boards and pieces, as opposed to games like Senet, Aseb, Mehen, and Hounds and Jackals, all of which were the games of royalty and the wealthy. The Felaheen and the Bedouin simply dug holes in the sand to make a temporary playing board or carved them into rocks, and used pebbles of two different colors to play. It has been my observation, that in Egypt, for whatever reason, the wealthy preferred games of chance, where as the poor preferred games of strategy without a chance component.

About Rota:

Rota is a Roman game, found carved into stones on many Roman roads and buildings around the Roman Empire. Its original Roman name is unknown. The name Rota, which in Latin means “wheel”, was given to it by Elmer Truesdell Merrill, in his article about the game, published in 1916, where he brought it to the world’s attention for the first time. Merrill also recreated the rules for the game based on other similar games and it is his rules that are documented here.

There appears to be a description of the rules of Rota in two poems by Ovid, Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) (lines 362-366), written in 2 CE, and Tristia (lines 481-483). What’s confusing is that Ovid says that the game is divided into the same number of sections as there were months in the calendar year. The Roman calendar had 10 months prior to the Julian reform of Julius Caesar, which is what Ovid is referring to. However, the boards of Rota that are found carved into stones through out the Roman Empire all have 9 cells and not 10. So it is possible that Ovid is referring to another game or at least a different Rota board variation that had 10 cells. However, he clearly says how to win the game, by aligning 3 pieces in a row.

It should be noted that this description of what seems to be Rota is only valid according to J. Lewis May’s translation. According to Mozley’s translation in the Loeb Classical Library edition, this phrase refers to two different games, one of which is Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum (Duodecim Scripta), which had 12 lines, in a single section of the game, referring to post Augustan reform of the calendar with 12 months. And the other game is Nine Men’s Morris, which captured the opponent’s piece by placing two pieces around it on both sides, thus forming three pieces in a line.

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Eli Gurevich

Eli Gurevich

Chandler, Arizona

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