The Board Game on the Phaistos Disk Ebook
Its siblings Senet and Snake Game, and its surviving sequel the Royal Game of the Goose
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The Phaistos Disk, a famous archaeological riddle from Bronze Age Crete, was not a writing tablet but a spiral board game track. The pieces of this long unsolved puzzle fall readily into place and tell a fascinating tale when you examine the pretty little pictures on it not as alleged writing signs but compare them with similar markings on other game boards of its time, particularly the ancient Egyptian games of Senet and Snake Game. Like these, the track on the Disk represented the players’ journey through life and death to their rebirth. It also happened to illustrate the events along their path with images from mythology and cosmology, most prominently the life cycle of the sun god who died and whose rebirth the players hoped to re-enact for themselves. These parallels supply the key for a secure and externally confirmed interpretation of many signs and fields on the Disk. Moreover, it turns out that the ancient game on it survives today in very similar form as the spiral Game of the Goose which is also still known in some areas as the Snake Game. Like Senet, which used to have great religious importance but evolved into modern Backgammon, the spiral game from the Snake boards and from the Disk lost its once sacred status and is now a children’s pastime. Many of the markings on the Goose Game fields still match the meanings of the pictures in the same locations along its ancient track on the Disk, including the clearly identified “death” field and the arrival in heaven. One of the reasons for this longevity is that the game illustrated and simulated the ancient beliefs in an afterlife. Some of those deeply rooted and cherished hopes continued into later religions, and their followers continued to act them out in the gameboard version of their lives. As you watch the clues mesh together, you will discover that several important features from the story on the Disk survive to this day in major Christian traditions.
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