AskDefine | Define tabula

User Contributed Dictionary



tabula, tabulae f
  1. tablet, sometimes a tablet covered with wax for writing
  2. board or plank



  1. table

Extensive Definition

Tabula was a board game in the tables family, and is generally thought to be the direct ancestor of modern backgammon.
The earliest description of tabula is in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno (476–481), given by Agathias of Myrine (527–567), who describes a game in which Zeno goes from a strong position to a very weak one after an unfortunate dice roll. The rules of Tabula were reconstructed in the 19th century by Becq de Fouquières based upon this epigram.
Tabula was most likely a later refinement of ludus duodecim scriptorum, with the board's middle row of points removed, and only the two outer rows remaining. The game was played on a board nearly identical to a modern backgammon board. Two players had 15 pieces each, and moved them in opposing directions around the board, according to the roll of three dice. A piece resting alone in a space on the board was vulnerable to being hit.


tabula in Bulgarian: Табула
tabula in German: Tabula
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