There are a lot of facts about different types of games in ancient Egypt culture.
In addition to working in agriculture and building the temples and pyramids, the ancient Egyptian has introduced different types of games for the purpose of entertainment.
Now we are going to talk about different types of games in ancient Egypt.
The Egyptians had various types of games and a lot of forms of it. We found a lot of games in the tombs of the Egyptians. There were games for children like dolls and toys of animals.
Also, there were games for adults like the Senet game and snake which we will talk about them. Games in Ancient Egypt were made out of different types of materials like stone, faience, ivory and clay.
These games considered as a kind of joy and entertainment in the Egyptian society. But the fact also about these games stood behind a religious significance for the Egyptians.
Ancient Egyptian culture: the fact about Snake game
We don’t know exactly how this game was played in ancient Egypt. But we knew that this game was played from two up to 6 players.
This game was discovered in the tombs of the 1st dynasty. It was played by stone pieces takes the shape of dogs and lions. The board takes a shape of coiled snake divided into squares.
The fact about the religious significance of this game
There is a very famous snake called “Mhn”. In the book of “Imydwat” this snake god, surrounded god Ra during his journey in the sky, protecting him.
So the snake god “Mhn” will protect the owner of this game as he protects god Ra. The Ancient Egyptians buried this game with the deceased to make the deceased be protected by the god Mhn.
The Senet game
The name “Senet” means pass which refers to the deceased who would pass in the underworld of the afterlife. This game was very popular in Ancient Egypt from the early dynastic period.
How was it played?
Also, we couldn’t find the way of its playing but the scholars made some suggestions:
- The board of the game consists of 3 rows of 10 squares, each player had about 7 pieces different in shape from the opponent’s ones.
- They moved the pieces on the board according to throwing sticks which resemble the dice nowadays.
- The target was to move your pieces before your opponent over the thirty squares making a shape of “S”.
Egypt culture: The fact about Chess game
One of the oldest games, the chess was popular in Ancient Egypt and in the tomb of king Tut-Ankh-Amun on the west bank of Thebes, (18th Dynasty), a chessboard was found.
The board which was made out of ivory and ebony is now on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Two colors could be seen in the checkered, the bright and dark.
The pieces used in the checkered board; the bright and the dark. The pieces used in the game were of different shapes and colors. Meanwhile, there is a scene for Ramses III, while playing chess with his wife.
Chess game in the Islamic period
This game continued through the Islamic ages until the present day. The Muslim artist depicted this game in numerous manuscripts, including the “selected poems”, Iran 1468.
The manuscript showed two persons playing the chess, while a third party was watching. A servant attends them to offer food and drinks. The pieces were beside the contestants.
Al-Dwadary stated in his book al-Dura al-Zakia Fi Akhbar al-Dawla at-Turkia, “news from the Turkish state”, of 698 A.H., that Sultan Lajin had been sitting between the representative of Burgi Mamluks, the judge Hossam al-Hanafi, Ibn al Asal al-Makry.
The latter had a chess game with the Sultan. In the royal Jewellery Museum in Alexandria, the golden chessboard of king Farouk is now displayed.
It’s well known that the chess game is originally Indian. The Persians transferred it to their countries, and the Arabs conceived it from them.
In Russian, the chess means “Shak Maty” which means “Shah Mat”. The Shah or the king is dead. This gave a proof that the Russians took the game after the Persians. As the matter of fact, the chess is Ancient Egyptian game.
Among the Egyptians were girls specialized in clowns games by bending their bodies backward to form a semi-circle on the floor which they touched with the tips of their toes and fingers.
A lot of scenes in the Egyptians temples show an aerobics girl performing this gesture.
These clown games continued in the Islamic ages as shown in the Qajar painting (Iran 1293-1343 A.H. / 1779-1925 A.D.).
The clown games appeared for the first time in the festival of god Min as depicted in Edfu, Karnak, Luxor, and Dendera temples.
They used to erect a stem tied to it in vertical position whole the men raced to climb the masts. The winner of the race was qualified to receive a prize from the temple.
Undoubtedly, one feels astonished to know that the ancient Egyptians excelled in these games which are now famous all over the world.
Culture of Ancient Egypt: wrestling games
Wrestling was illustrated in many ancient Egyptian tombs among those were the tomb of “Ptah-Hotep” in Sakkara.
Fifth Dynasty, Amenmehat’s tomb, Middle Kingdom and the temple of Ramses III in “Haby” in Thebes 19th Dynasty, where we can see the gladiators wrestling in the presence of king Ramses III and his courtiers.
Wrestling in the Islamic ages
Wrestling became a widespread game in the Islamic ages and was illustrated by painters where we find a copy of “Gulstan saddi” manuscript (Bukhara School) 1567 on display in the British Museum representing a wrestle between an old man and a young man.
Furthermore a copy of another manuscript (from the Taymuria school), now preserved in the Museum of the Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University from the fifteenth century representing a wrestling game between two persons surrounded by the masses watching the match and gladiators awaiting their turn.
Wrestling had a special status with the people and that was conceded from both the historical facts and the heritage.
Among those considered an Islamic popular heroes in Persia, “Bahlaman Buryay Ealy” gladiator blessed by God with an esteemed body but, even though, was god-fearing and used to the preaching of the youth he was training which proved that wrestling, as a physical sport, was related to both body and soul at the same time and this in return could remind us of what is said nowadays about the physical sport and how it refines the soul and improves the youth mannerism as much as it strengthens the bodies.
Among the interesting and exciting stories narrated about this gladiator was that an Indian gladiator heard that “Bahlaman Buryay” was invincible and thought to challenge him in wrestling so he traveled from India to Iran.
When the governor of “Kuwarizm” heard about the matter, he ordered his subjects, Old and young, to gather on Thursday in the largest square in the city to watch.
Bahlawan wanted to visit the Indian gladiator in his house before meeting him in the arena and saw by sheer coincidence his opponent mother, on the roof praying to God to grant victory to her son and support him.
The next day, the two gladiators met and the governor of “Kuwarizm” was under his canopy watching astonishingly.
The Persian gladiator felt that he was stronger than his Indian counterpart and rival, but he remembered that old mother praying to god to uphold her son upon the Persian gladiator and thus he felt pity for her and decided to be merciful towards her and so, he pretended to be defeated for the poor mother’s sake.
And that clearly shows that this gladiator was not only a strong and powerful but also a man of good nature and rare character as he favored his rival upon himself and exposed his reputation from human considerations.
Compassion and self-denial are characteristics of a read sportsman.
Hence, we can feel the same propensity in the governor’s interest in both Pharaonic Egypt and Islamic Iran.
At the end of the article, we can say that the ancient Egyptians were the first people to introduce the mentioned games which are played in all over the world nowadays, and these Egypt culture facts about games are undeniable.