Painting in tomb of Egyptian Queen Nefertari (1295–1255 BC)
Photo by The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei.
4TH MILLENNIUM BCE
OTHER NAMES: Senat
Senet is one of the oldest surviving board game dating back pre-dynastic Egypt, and is heavily immersed in elements of the old religions. Senet is a well developed game even back then as evidence that commoners were playing it as well.
According to Egyptian hieroglyphic depiction of the game, Senet is originate in Egypt as far back as 3,100 BCE. Surprisingly, there are other game boards similar to Senet have also been found, and predated even earlier. It suggests the game may possibly be a lot older than today's estimation.
Senet has gone through several refinement and adaptation, mostly throughout the 3rd and 2nd millennium BCE. The game incorporated the ancient religion of afterlife and the stratagems of their gods, which reveals why these game boards were found in ancient tombs buried with royalty. (1)
The Senet game board is a grid of 30 squares, arranged in three rows of ten. A Senet board has two sets of pawns (at least five of each and, in some sets, more, as well as shorter games with fewer). The actual rules of the game are a topic of some debate, although historians have made educated guesses. (2)
You can still purchase the game under many of the reproduction versions online, incorporated with either traditional rules or modern rules developed by Senet historians. A game of Senet is great for venturing into the minds of ancient game players, and provides entertainment for enjoyment.
The origin of games is one of the oldest human civilization lineage, spanning over millenniums of development to date. From archaeological evidence traditional games is one of the fundamental aspect of life in the ancient world, and is paramount to the development of social culture and military strategies. Many of these games became modern day family fun for holidays and occasions to enjoy.