Feb.20, 2013

The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns what may be the world's oldest d20 die. This 20-sided die is made out of serpentine and dated to somewhen around 304 to 30 B.C. Despite of its age, this d20 die is kept in a really good shape.

(Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Inlaid with ancient Greek symbols, the die is around an inch tall. You can see clearly symbols for eta, theta, and epsilon carved into the die.

But now, everyone could have a chance to hold and roll it: CornerstoneGamer 3D-model the d20 die in Autodesk and print a replica out on a 3D printer.

This die is a replica of a 20-sided die from ancient Egypt, dated from some time between the 2nd century B.C. - 4th century A.D. (Ptolemaic/Roman periods) and inscribed with the first twenty letters of the Greek alphabet. It is based on examples in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and features the same alphabetic variant seen on those (for example, the unusual alpha and the C-like Coptic "sima" in place of sigma). Originals were made out of serpentine or faience, so sandstone seems like the most appropriate material for printing this one, though it would also be a nifty conversation piece in metal or alumide. Evidently the makers of the originals were aware of the five Platonic solids, including the icosahedron, and ancient gamers were quick to recognize the usefulness of such a shape for creating random game results. While it is unknown precisely what game these dice were used for, the letters had recognized numerical correspondents, and they could have served for anything from gambling at Nile river boat parties to roleplaying sessions among archeogeeks.

Now you can purchase this 3D Replica of d20 die on Shapeways, starting at $16.99 for a sandstone finish. But if you prefer gold plated glossy or even silver, the price can be $124.99 or $305.99.

 

 

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Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

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