Is this the original board game of death?


EXCERPT: Ancient Egyptians took their board games seriously. The backgammonlike senet started out as a mere pastime, but over nearly 2 millennia it evolved into a game with deep links to the afterlife [...] Now, a version of the game sitting in a California museum might reveal when this dramatic transformation took place.

Senet probably wasn’t the world’s first board game, but it was one of the first to become a smash hit. It seems to have risen to popularity in all tiers of Egyptian society about 5000 years ago—and was still being enjoyed by Egyptians 2500 years later.

[...] There is no evidence that senet was anything other than a form of entertainment at the time of its invention. But by about 4300 years ago, Egyptian tomb art began to depict the tomb’s dead inhabitant playing senet against living friends and relatives. Texts from the time suggest the game had begun to be seen as a conduit through which the dead could communicate with the living.

Over the next millennium, Egyptian texts came to describe the game as reflecting the movement of the soul through the Egyptian realm of the dead—called Duat—and toward the afterlife. And by about 3300 years ago, the game board itself had changed.[...] The board retained this symbolism for another 800 years, until the game fell out of fashion... (MORE - details)

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