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'Aphrodite and The Dog'
Gamers of Earth Addendum 2
© 2021 James LaFond
Upon reading Herodotus naming three sixes as an almost impossible roll of the knucklebones, I decided that this result could lead to a sudden death victory roll in a game of tossed bones. The sources are insistent that men played with for knucklebones. This makes sense, in that a set of knucklebones would come from the ankles of an animal, which had four.
That these divination and chance tokens, obviously invented by the Аrуаns, who brought them into Egypt circa 1600 B.C. When they were added to the board game Senet as randomizing devices, represent Fate in reference to the chief good and means of life and war, available to these ancient warriors: goats, sheep, horses, cattle. Indeed, Mongolian knucklebones have each of their four sides named after different herd animals.
The ideal of a trinity, though, is strong in ancient Аrуаn song, of man, giants and gods, of priests, warriors and slaves, of men, women and children. I think it no accident that the knucklebones of four sides have 35 possible results and the two modern six-sided dice descended from them have 36 possible results. The use of four knucklebones and two dice each attempts to abide by a tripartite principle.
The piece of camp furniture carried over into the advanced Greek home, the tripod, a three-legged prop for vessels comes to mind as does the Riddle of the Sphinx. The Hellenic month was counted in three dekads, rising and declining, with 12 months, being 4 3-month seasons, comprising the year. An army arrayed for battle had a center and two wings, three elements.
Just as women [young unmarried women especially] used these used the bones to petition the goddess of love at shrines, it is likely that some of the auger's skill in guiding the warrior making a sacrifice, might have involved a cast of these ones. For generals often declined to act as they wished based the reading of sacrificial animals which may have included such randomizing elements. This might have particularly been the case when no auger was present to skillfully examine the organs of the sacrifice.
The four sides of the knucklebones were valued as follows and taken face down, not face up.
There were two narrow and two broad sides:
-The rounded narrow side, 4th likely out of four sides, was counted 1
This side was named “dog”
-The indented narrow side, 3rd likely out of four, was counted 6
This side was called Venus [Aphrodite]. But to roll the score called Venus was not to roll four 6s as this was not regenerative.
-The rounded broad side, 2nd likely out of four, was counted 3
I would call this side Eros or Cupid
-The flat broad side of the bone, most likely, was counted 4
I would call this side Apollo.
Such correlations might have been why three sixes was a prized roll, this could be achieved by rolling two 6s and two 3s.
Such rolls as Midas, Solon and Alexander, would not be used at the time of the Iliad. So I will construct a suppositional game based on the values, the composite roll Aphrodite and the known but not valued rolls of Vulture, and King, and the fact that the best score is 40, requiring therefore an additional roll. I must therefor conclude that rolling over 40 with an additional would be called Nemesis.
An * indicates a mandatory additional throw.
Other prime rolls would be:
4 dogs, 4 points or a sudden death defeat
2 Dogs, 2 Eros, 8 points
-Ares [War]
2 Dogs, 2 Apollos, 10 points
4 Eros, 12 points and an additional throw*
Dog, Eros, Apollo, Aphrodite, 14 points and optional additional throw
2 Eros, 2 Apollo, 14 points and additional throw*
2 dogs, 2 Aphrodite, 14 points and an optional re-throw
4 Apollos, 16 points and an optional additional throw
-Poseidon [three sixes]
2 Eros, 2 Aphrodite, 18 points and an optional additional throw
2 Apollo, 2 Aphrodite, 20 points
4 Aphrodite, 24 points
Initial casts are made to determine order of throw.
40 points is an immediate victory
Any cast that takes the player over 40 eliminates him from play
A player may decline to roll and hold his place.
Once all players have gone over 40 or shielded the highest total wins.
The sources state that the men's game played with four knucklebones, where children played with five, would be cast 35 times. Presumably scores would then be compared.
Life is Tough
the lesser angels of our nature
your trojan whorse
taboo you
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