tabula thumbnailOne night in 480 CE, the Roman Emperor Zeno was winning a game of Tabula.

Then he rolled a 2, 5, and 6, and, because of exactly how his pieces were arranged on the board, he lost.

He was so very annoyed that he wrote down, in complete detail, how he had been wronged.

Thus the game of Tabula was preserved; here is a link to a printable board, with, I hope, full instructions– in English. It’s an ancestor of Backgammon, a child of Senat, but it itself was played all over the Roman Empire for hundreds of years.