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Online Backgammon history

Medieval tabula players, from the 13th century Carmina Burana
Old backgammon game recovered from the Vasa, sunk in 1628

backgammon is the oldest known recorded game. Traditionally, it was believed to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia, (present-day Iraq), also see Royal Game of Ur. In English, the word backgammon is believed to be derived from "back" plus the Middle English word "gamen" (game).

Medieval backgammon players

Tabula was a form of backgammon played by the ancient Romans. It was called tabula, which means 'table' or 'board', since it was played on a special board. Tabula bears some similarity to Egyptian Senet, which dates back to at least 3000 BC.

The game of Tabula was similar to modern-day backgammon in that the same board was used with fifteen pieces alloted to each player with the object of the game being to be the first to bear off all fifteen pieces. It differed in that the game began with no pieces on the board so that these first had to be entered by the roll of the dice. Likewise, three dice were used instead of two. Finally, both players entered the board from the same table and moved around the board in the same counterclockwise direction.

Recent excavations at the "Burnt City" in Iran showed that a form of backgammon existed there around 3000 BC. The artifacts include two dice and 60 pieces. The set is believed to be 100 to 200 years older than the oldest set found in Ur.