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Backgammon: How it get started?

Before Backgammon was recognized by the whole world as what it is now, do you know that it was similar to the games played by ancient people before?

Backgammon's Ancient counterparts

Historical accounts compare this game to an ancient Egyptian game known as Senet around 3500 BC. Senet is now considered as possibly the oldest board game in the world. Senet was driven by the element of chance as well as the ancient Egyptian's belief in determinism. In Iran, recent excavations proved another similar game known as the "Royal game of Ur," which had become popular around 3000BC.

Today's Backgammon resembled numerous ancient games from the Roman civilization. The Ludus duodecim scriptorum or the "game of twelve lines" was among those ancient Roman games. The Ludus game made use of a board consisting of 3 rows with 12 points in each row. The dice determined how the pieces were moved across the rows. The ancient Roman's "Tabula", which means "table" or "board", bore a resemblance to modern Backgammon. Tabula was brought up in an epigram of Emperor Zeno from the Byzantine period. Players moved their checkers across the board of 24 points based on the result of the rolls of the three dice.

The Evolution of the Modern Backgammon

The ancestors of today's Backgammon game emerged in France in the 11th century. The "jeux de tables" was able to lure French gamblers and became a favorite pastime until, in 1254, when Louis IX prohibited the game to be played.

The French authorities decree did not stop the game from growing popular that it even reached Germany around the 12th century and a century later, Iceland followed the growing Tables game craze.

Elizabethan laws ordered the game to be banned in the 16th century. However, in the 17th century, the game crossed Sweden and in the 18th century, the Tables game captivated even members of the English clergy. The games growing popularity was complimented by Edmund Hoyle's publication of "A Short Treatise on the Game of Backgammon," which was about the game's rules and strategies.

Fast forward to the 1920s, the Backgammon adopted a new feature called the doubling cube from an unknown gambler. This addition brought an element of skill in the game and even increased its marketability. With Prince Alexis Obelensky's first Official World Championship for Backgammon in the Bahamas 40 years later, the game was promoted all over the world and enticed more and more Backgammon enthusiasts up to this time.

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