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It is obvious that the astrological connotations of the number twelve have an important role in the game. The players, each possessing five pegs, start from the posts marked as A and A' on the diagram (FIGURE 7) and follow their respective circuits which lead to the common goal marked H.
Two conical types are represented at Susa, one being taller than the other (Mecquenem, 1943, fig. However, Persian tradition places the invention of backgammon under its Persian name nard ( (Explanation of Chess and the Invention of Backgammon) it is Bozorgmehr (see BOZORGMEHR-E BOḴTAGĀN), the vizier of Ḵosrow I Anūšīravān (r. This assumption is corroborated by the choice of animals used for the gaming boards. Certain cavities are differentiated by colored inlays, or motifs in the form of a rosette, or inscriptions denoting the stages in the evolution of the game. These boards were found with knucklebones at Susa and Tepe Siālk, but with no pegs unlike in Egypt, where zoomorphic sticks are well known and led to the game being called “Hounds and Jackals.” Most of the pegs, being made of wood, have perished. , 2-3, /-X (/ is a diagonal stroke, and X is a variety of the cross; no. The reduced size and the fact that the boards appear to have never been used for playing suggest that the gaming boards from Jiroft had been intentionally produced as grave goods. This 30th post is sometimes surrounded by additional holes. Among the finds associated with the famous snake-board from Šahr-e Suḵta, two truncated cones can be identified as pawns (Piperno and Salvatori, 1983, pp. 7), whereas it is rather unlikely that the small plaques of different shape had anything to do with the game. The new finds from Jiroft testify to the fact that important characteristics of the backgammon board (rows of twelve cells divided into groups of six) had already been present around 2000 BCE. Although the origin and history of backgammon are still poorly understood, it is clear that Persia played an important role in the early development of the game.
This makes it often difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether a board has been used as a game board or as a board for calculation (see, for example, the clay tablet measuring 6.2 x 8.4 cm with 3 x 8 holes in Edwards, 1983, p. The hitherto earliest board of this type seems to be a stone board from Jiroft in Kermān province in southeastern Iran (Majidzāda, 2003, pp. The fragment from Ville Royale at Susa has been misinterpreted when drawn for the final report (Mecquenem, 1943, fig. 41, board III.1, erroneous drawing after Mecquenem). From the fact that the marked squares, which can be found on a number of boards, are placed exactly at a distance of four fields, it can be concluded that the track to run through on the boards of the Ur type was as indicated in the diagram (FIGURE 2; a different proposal is given in Finkel, 1995, p. A recently discovered late-Babylonian cuneiform tablet dating to 177-176 BCE contains a description of a race game with a plausible reference to the game of 20 squares (Finkel, 1995; Idem, 2007). ), which seems to preserve the original name of the game, whereas the counters (five on each side) bear the names of birds. Objects with variants of 20-, 30-, and 36-square diagrams are also attested at Susa for different periods. However, the identification of these boards as game boards is not without doubts, since similar designs have been used as apotropaic symbols also. A great variety of random generators are known from ancient Persia: a) A binary die of pyramidal shape, similar to the ones found in the royal graves of Ur and dating to the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE, is reported from Susa (Mecquenem, 1943, p.