Wednesday, January 8, 2014

History mystery: Roman Dodecahedron

Roman Dodecahedron-1
A dodecahedra found in Europe has been given the name, Roman Dodecahedron where a total of over hundred objects were found in various European parts of the Roman Empire. These date back to the second or third century CE and were made of stone or bronze resembling geometric shape having twelve flat faces with each face in a pentagon, a five sided shape. Moreover they were also embellished with a number of knobs at each corner point of the pentagon.

Roman Dodecahedron-2
The pentagon faces in most cases contained circular hole in them and were of different size. Some of the Roman dodecahedron was basic in design while others had patterns and markings on them and the dodecahedron which were found in Germany had circular grooves around the hole on the faces. They were between the size of 4 cm and 11 cm and a majority of these objects were found on the territories of France, Switzerland and parts of Germany where the Roman once ruled, though some were also found in Hungary and Great Britain. The use or function of the dodecahedra is unknown since there is no mention of them in any text of pictures of that time. Some are of the opinion that they may have been used as candlestick holders since remnants of wax was found inside one such dodecahedron while others speculate that they could be dice, devices for determining the optimal sowing date for winter grains, survey instruments, or used to calibrate water pipes, and army standard bases.

Roman Dodecahedron-3

Still others suggest that they may have been used for religious purpose artifact of some kind. The famous Greek historian, Plutarch identified the dodecahedron as a vital instruments for zodiac signs, taking into account the twelve sides which represent the twelve animals in the zodiac circle with others debating on the knobs as a means of decoration. Many have been baffled over the purpose and use of the different size hole, the reason of its discoveries all over Europe and not in a concentrated area. One such object found in a woman’s burial ground has given rise to more speculation leading some to believe that they were used as religious artifact probably used in rites derived from Celtic sources and this speculation is based on the fact that most of these objects were found in Gallo Roman sites.

Roman Dodecahedron-4

The Roman dodecahedrons are surely one of the ancient artifacts with their unique beauty, appearance, accompanied with the mystery behind it, thus enhancing its appeal giving rise to speculation among many historian, experts’ and artifact fanatics. Many have made attempts to unravel this baffling mystery each coming up with their own conclusion on its exact usage and function of this amazing ancient object. The fact that the Roman dodecahedron has still not been solved makes it one of the most interesting and appealing ancient artifact ever found and it is quite unlikely that we may ever know the purpose of the creation of this amazing artifact known as Roman Dodecahedron.

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