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around 1–100 CE

Icosahedral Die with Divine Entities

Rolling divinities on an icosahedral die

This unique slightly irregular icosahedral die from Greco-Roman Egypt, likely dating to around 1–100 CE, contains the name of a divine entity on each of its 20 faces.

Icosahedral Die with Divine Entities

In contrast to other icosahedra known from Greco-Roman Egypt, this die is not inscribed with Greek or Latin letters but with divine names written in Demotic script. It was found at Qaret el-Muzzawaqa, Egypt at the western end of the Dakhla Oasis in the 1980s and is now is housed in the Kharga Heritage Museum.

Artifact dimensions

5 cm × 6 cm

Original artifact location

Dakhla Oasis (historical name), al-Wadi al-Jadid, Egypt (current name)

Current artifact location

Kharga Heritage Museum, Egypt

Timeline

Polyhedra timeline Burnt City Dice Euclid's Elements Pottery Sherd Icosahedron Construction Serpentinite Icosahedral Die Icosahedral Die with Divine Entities Da Vinci's Polyhedra Kepler's Planetary System

Interactive Content

Computational Explanation

Other Resources

Additional Reading

  • Gill, J. C. R. Dakhleh Oasis and the Western Desert of Egypt Under the Ptolemies. Oxford, England and Philadelphia, PA: Oxbow Books, 2016.
  • Horster, G. "Antike Polyeder: Vom Spiel mit Form und Zahl im Ptolemaïschen Ägypten zum Kleinod in Römischen Europa." In Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Vol. 132, p. 147, cat. III.B.14, 2017.
  • Minas-Nerpel, M. "A Demotic Inscribed Icosahedron from Dakhleh Oasis." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 93, pp. 137–148, 2007.