A Brief History of Backgammon

While all board games have their own intriguing origin, none can compare with the history of Backgammon. The reason is that unlike other games, the timeline for the origin of this particular game goes right down to the dawn of civilization.

The latest archaeological data clearly shows that the history of Backgammon began some 6,000 years ago. The evidence unearthed shows some dice (made of bones) along with a board, and this was found in ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq). While the exact rules and concepts of the game were unknown, the basis of the modern game -the dice and the board- indicates that it was a very likely precursor to the current game.

The history of Backgammon, and the games that were derived from it, can be found throughout various civilizations. During the Roman Empire there was a board game called tables that bore a very strong resemblance to modern Backgammon. Its popularity can be attested by the fact that it was depicted in the walls of the residences excavated in Pompeii and other buried cities.

In addition, the popularity of the game was evidence by the fact that the rulers of the lands, such as the Emperors Claudius and Nero, played it extensively. During Nero's reign he played it for high stakes, the equivalent of over $10,000 today.

The history of Backgammon, and its link to gambling, resurfaced during the Middle Ages as variations of the games spread throughout Europe, particularly during the Crusades. As such, the game, also called tables and played with dice, was banned. Nevertheless the popularity of the game continued to increase, and was depicted in the works of such luminaries as Shakespeare and Chaucer.

Despite the best efforts of the authorities, Backgammon continued to grow in popularity, and eventually became accepted. As the game spread to the United States of America, the game underwent several innovations, including the addition of the doubling cube and multi player, and these improvements allowed the game to expand in popularity worldwide.

Today the Internet has become the main stage for a lot of the games, with players competing against each other from all parts of the world, with major tournaments continuing to be played live and online.

The Net is now writing new chapters in the history of Backgammon. As technology evolves, so will the game continue to thrive and its followers are only likely to increase in number.