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Ludus Latrunculorum (Latrunculi)DLP Game   

Period Ancient, Medieval

Region Northern Africa, Western Asia, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe

Category Board, War, Custodial


Ludus Latrunculorum ("Game of Robbers") is a game from the Roman Empire, beginning in the final centuries BCE, that appears to have been particularly popular in the Roman military. It is mentioned in various authors such as Ovid, Seneca, and Isidore of Seville. Boards have ben found throughout the areas occupied by the Romans, especially in forts. Boards range in size from 6x7 to 14x14 and are not always exactly square. Glass counters were frequently used as pieces. Some speculation exists that this game developed into later tafl games.


Played on a rectangular grid. 6x7 to 14x14. Two players. Pieces move orthogonally. Pieces can be blocked. Custodial captures.

DLP evidence.

These rules were taken from the Historical Information ruleset.

All Rulesets

Scholarly rulesets
Schädler 1994 Proposed by Ulrich Schädler in 1994.
Schädler 2001 Rules proposed by Ulrich Schädler in 2001.
Locus Ludi Seneca Proposed by the Locus Ludi Project.
Locus Ludi Piso Rules proposed by the Locus Ludi Project.

Suggested rulesets
Museum Quintana Suggested by the Museum Quintana.
Falkener Suggested by E. Falkener.
Kowalski 10x11 Played on a 10x11 board suggested by W. Kowalski.
Kowalski 8x12 Played on an 8x12 board suggested by W. Kowalski.
Bell 8x7 Played on an 8x7 board as suggested by R. C. Bell.
Bell 8x8 Played on an 8x8 board as suggested by R. C. Bell.
6x6 (Seega Rules) 6x6 board with Seega rules.
6x6 (Kharebga Rules) 6x6 board with Kharebga rules.
6x7 (Seega Rules) 6x7 board with Seega rules.
6x7 (Kharebga Rules) 6x7 board with Kharebga rules.
6x8 (Seega Rules) 6x8 board with Seega rules.
6x8 (Kharebga Rules) 6x8 board with Kharebga rules.
7x8 (Seega Rules) 7x8 board with Seega rules.
7x8 (Kharebga Rules) 7x8 board with Kharebga rules.
8x8 (Seega Rules) 8x8 board with Seega rules.
8x8 (Kharebga Rules) 8x8 board with Kharebga rules.
8x9 (Seega Rules) 8x9 board with Seega rules.
8x9 (Kharebga Rules) 8x9 board with Kharebga rules.
10x10 (Seega Rules) 10x10 board with Seega rules.
10x10 (Kharebga Rules) 10x10 board with Kharebga rules.
11x16 (Seega Rules) 11x16 board with Seega rules.
11x16 (Kharebga Rules) 11x16 board with Kharebga rules.
9x10 (Seega Rules) 9x10 board with Seega rules.
9x10 (Kharebga Rules) 9x10 board with Kharebga rules.
11x12 (Seega Rules) Seega on an 11x12 board.
11x12 (Kharebga Rules) Kharebga rules on an 11x12 board.

Incomplete rulesets
Historical Information Known information about Ludus Latrunculorum.


Roman Empire

Ludeme Description

Ludus Latrunculorum.lud


Browse all concepts for Ludus Latrunculorum here.

Evidence Map

68 pieces of evidence in total. Browse all evidence for Ludus Latrunculorum here.

Click on any marker or highlighted region to view the evidence relating to it.
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Anonymous. Laus Pisonis. Loeb Classical Library.

Austin, R.G. 1934. 'Roman board games I.' Greece & Rome 4(10): 24-34.

Avelaira, T. 2015. "Aquae Querquennae (Porto Quintela, Ourense. España): Un campamento Romano en el NW de Hispania. Ephemeris Napocensis 25: 43-80.

Baddeley, S. 1925. 'A Roman Draught-board.' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 25: 125.

Bell, R. 2007. 'Notes on Pavement Games of Greece and Rome.' In I. Finkel (ed), Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London: British Museum Press, 98-99.

Berrocal-Rangel, L., P. Martínez Seco and C. Ruiz Triviño. 2002. El Castiello de Llagú (Latores, Oviedo): Un castro Astur en los orígenes de Oviedo. Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia.

Breeze, D. 2016. Bearsden: A Roman Fort on the Antonine Wall. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Bushe-Fox, J.P. 1928. Second Report on the Excavation of the Roman Fort at Richborough, Kent. Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 7. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Busuladžić, A. 2017. "Roman Gaming Boards and Pieces: Unpublished Astragals, Talus and Calculi from the Antiquities Collection of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Glasnik Zemaljskog Muzeja Bosne i Hercegovine u Sarajevu: Arheologija 54: 185-208.

Carretero Vaquero, S. 1998. El Ludus Latrunculorum, un juego de estrategia practicado por los equites del Ala II Flavia. Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueologìa 64: 117– 140.

Crist, W., A.-E. Dunn-Vaturi and A. de Voogt. 2016. Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders. London: Bloomsbury.

da Ponte, S. 1986. 'Jogos romanos de Conimbriga.' Conimbriga: Revista de Arqueologia 25:131–141.

de Voogt, A, M. Nilsson and J. Ward. 2020. "The Role of Graffiti GAme Boards in the Understanding of an Archaeological Site: The Gebel el-Silsila Quarries." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 106(1-2): 123-132.

de Voogt, A. 2019a. 'Traces of appropriation: Roman board games in Egypt and Sudan.' Archimède 6:89–99.

Dunwell, A. and I. Ralston. 1995. "Excavations at Inverarvon on the Antonine Wall." Proeedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 125: 521-576.

Ersoy, A. and Ö. Erdin. 2015. "Antik Dönem Smyrna Agorasında Bulunan Roma Dönemi Ludus Latrunculorum ve Mankala Oyun Tablaları Üzerine İncelemne." In E. Okan and C. Atila (eds.), Prof. Dr. Ömer Özyiğit'e Armağan. Istanbul: Yayınlarış, 141-156.

Gregory, T. and D. Gurney. 1986. Excavations at Thornham, Warham, Wighton and Calstor, Norfolk. Norwich: Norfolk Museums Service.

Gudea, N. 1971. 'Ceramica.' In E. Chirila, N. Gudea, V. Lucacel, and C. Pop (eds), Castrul de la Buciumi. Cluj: Muzeul de Istoire si Arta Zalau.

Hejduyk, J. 2004. The Offense of Love. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Holbrook, N. and P. Bidwell. 1991. Roman Finds from Exeter. Exeter: University of Exeter.

Isidore. Etymologiae (Origines).

Jankovic, A. 2009. Rimske igre na table u Singidunumu i okolini. Godišnjak grada Beograda 50-51: 55-68.

Jeremic, G. 2009. Saldum: Roman and Early Byzantine Fortification. Belgrade: Institute of Archaeology.

Karakitsou, E. 2009. Games in the Parthenon. The Acropolis Restoration News 9:23–25.

Körfer, A.-L. 2017. "Lector Ludens. Spiel und Rätsel in Optatians Panegyrik." In M. Squire and J. Wienand (eds.), Morphogrammata/The Lettered Art of Optatian: Figuring Cultural Transformations in the Age of Constatine. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

Manderscheid, H., F. Carboni and M. Bruno. 2011. 'Tabulae lusoriae del mondo Romano: Il tavioliere dei muratori di Villa Adriana, tabulae di Traiano a Roma e dal complesso Severano di Leptis Magna. Archeologia Classica 62: 513–535.

Martial. Epigrammata.

Michaelis, A. 1863. "Terrakottagruppe aus Athen." Archäologischer Anzeiger 13: 37-43.

Mihailescu-Birliba, V. 2016. 'Games and gamers in Dacia.' Arheologia Moldovei 39: 33–56.

Mosca, F. and P. Puppo. 2012. "Riflessioni su dadi e giochi da tavolo nel mondo Romano." Histria Antique 21: 271-280.

Mulvin, L. and S. Sidebotham. 2004. 'Roman Game Boards from Abu Sha'ar (Red Sea Coast, Egypt).' Antiquity 78(301): 206–617.

Mulvin, L. and S.E. Sidebotham. 2003. Roman game boards from Abu Sha’ar (Red Sea Coast, Egypt. Antiquity 78: 602–617.

Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Murray, H.J.R. 1951. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ovid. Ars Amatoria.

Ovid. Tristia. trans. A. Wheeler. 1924. Loeb Classical Library.

Owen, P. 1998. Excavations at Garforth, West Yorkshire. Gifford and Partners: Unpublished Report Series.

Penn, T. and S. Courts. n.d. 'Playing Games at Vindolanda.' Vindolanda Charitable Trust.

Pérez Losada, F. 1993. "Une pieza epigráfica excepcional procedente de Noville (Mugardos, A Coruña, Galicia. II Congreso Peninsular de História Antiga: Coimbra 18 a 20 de outubro de 1990: Actas. Coimbra: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra.

Petrie, W.M.F. 1927. Objects of Daily Use. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

Philip, B. 1981. The Excavation of the Roman Forts of the Classis Brittanica at Dover 1970–1977. Dover: Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit.

Pintos, J. 2017. Tableros de juego rupestres em el SO. de Galicia. REtrieved 11 August, 2021.

Requena, E. and Sala, N. 2021. "Una tabula lusoria en el castellum republicano de Puig Castellar de Biosca en Llaida, Catalunya (180-120 a.C.). Archivo Español de Arqueología 94. DOI:

Reynolds, P. 1938. "Excavations on the Site of the Roman Fort at Caerhun. Seventh Interim Report. Small Finds." InKanovium Excavation Committee (ed), Excavations on the Site of the Roman Fort of Kanovium at Caerhun, Caernarvonshire." Cardiff: William Lewis Ltd.

Robertson, A. 1975. Birrens (Blatobulgium). Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable.

Schädler, U. 1994. 'Latrunculi—ein verlorenes strategisches Brettspiel der Römer.' Homo Ludens 4: 47–67.

Schädler, U. 1995. XII scripta, alea, tabula: new evidence for the Roman history of “backgammon.” In A. de Voogt (ed.), New Approaches to Board Games Research: Asian Origins and Future Perspectives. Leiden: IIAS. 73–98.

Schädler, U. 2001. "Latrunculi: A Forgotten Roman Game of Strategy Reconstructed." Abstract Games Magazine 7: 10-11.

Seneca. De Tranquilitate Animi. trans. A. Stewart.

Varro. De Lingua Latina. trans. R. Kent. Loeb Classical Library.

Villa Valdés, A. 2000. "Descripción de las estructuras defensivas e trazado urbano no castro do Chao de San Martín (Grandas de Salime, Asturias)." Boletin do Museo Provincial de Lugo 9: 267-419.

Villa Valdés, A. 2010-2012. "Grabados zoomorfos sobre pizarra y otros epíigrafes inéditos en castros asturianos." Sautuola 16-17: 97-112.

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