saturnalia games

Io Saturnalia!

Games of Skill and Chance!

During the Roman Festival of Saturnalia, courts and schools were closed, just as they are for modern holidays. Gifts were given and many games were played. Here are some at which you may try your luck!

The Games of Senex Caecilius:

  • Welcome to the Ludi Seniles! If you enjoy a mental challenge, try your skill at one or more of the following topics. A score of 85 or higher in any category qualifies you as a medalist and earns the right to post a plaque at your homesite.

Roman Board Games and How to Play them:

  • Here you will find descriptions and images of game boards and playing stones for nine Roman board games. Directions for playing each game also are provided.

Tali, the Roman Dice game:

  • Tali, commonly known today as Knucklebones, was perhaps the most popular game played among the Romans. It resembled the game of dice except that sets of marked bones were used, called tali. Tali was inherited from the Ancient Greeks, who had originally made the pieces from astragali, or the knucklebones of sheep or goats, like the ones shown below.