Faience polyhedron inscribed with letters of the Greek alphabet


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171

A number of polyhedra made in various materials are known from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. They may have been used in conjunction with an oracle inscribed on a pillar set up in a public place. The polyhedron was thrown in order to choose a letter at random. One consulted the inscription to find the matching letter and read the oracle's response. There would be twenty oracular messages, each beginning with a letter of the alphabet that corresponded to one side of the dice.

Faience polyhedron inscribed with letters of the Greek alphabet, Faience, Roman

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