If you ask a child today how they occupied their free time, most answers would be – playing on some type of gaming console, watching the Telly, or being outside playing some sort of sport with their mates.
Unfortunately Romans didn’t have these types of option available to them. While there is the possibility to have an outside sport like game (using a ball) during the Roman period, it was more likely you would catch a child with some sort of board game or a nut (marble) game.
The first game, entitled Orca, allows each play to have 5 nuts that they take turns to try and throw them into a bucket. The winner is determined by which ever player gets the most nuts of their original 5 into the bucket. The name Orca is a Latin term that means whale, which in this game the whale (or to be specific its mouth) is represented by the bucket.
The next game is called Delta. Delta is a Greek letter that is in the shape of a triangle (Δ). Delta also is a triangle deposit at the mouth of a river. So it is not surprising that the Delta Game Roman children played involves nuts (again) being thrown onto a triangle on the ground. The triangle is divided into 10 sections and after each child has thrown all 5 nuts, they count up their scores.
Additionally there is the Rolling Walnut Game where competitors start with 10 nuts, and roll them down a slope one at a time in an attempt to hit their opponent’s nut, which they then get to keep. The player with the most nuts wins.
Finally there is Castellatae. This begins with five small clusters of nuts (3 walnuts and 1 on top). Each player has 5 nuts and tries with five throw to disturb the nut clusters. The units he/she has managed to hit are theirs to keep. After that the clusters are reconstructed from a ‘large’ pot and the next player tries in turn. Whoever has the most nuts after 5 rounds is the winner.
These are only some games that Roman Children would play, if you are in the Bath area tonight and fancy learning about these and other games, visit the Roman Baths Museum between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm tonight, 10 July 2013, at the Great Bath where Bethan will be there explaining more games and leisure activities that the Romans participated in.
Additionally you can see these Roman games in action on 15th July 2013 at 1:30pm, on the Kingston Parade during the Beau Street Hoard Funding launch. The children playing the games have been working with the Learning & Programmes co-ordinator to learn these games and create their interpretation of Roman Coins for the event
|Otter Class from Moorlands School painting their coins|
Along with these games, there will be an actual Roman Priest and Roman Soldier along with our modern day Roman Gladiators – two of the Bath Rugby players
|Bath Rugby's Olly Woodburn|
|Bath Rugby's Ben Williams|