Stranger games: the life and times of the spintriae

Duggan, Eddie (2017) Stranger games: the life and times of the spintriae. Board Game Studies Journal, 11 (1). pp. 101-121. ISSN 2183-3311

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Abstract

In 2010 a Roman token was discovered in the mud of the Thames
near Putney Bridge in London. When the token was discovered to
have an erotic image on one side and a Roman numeral on the other,
and was identified in a Museum of London press release as a rare Roman
“brothel token”, the press reported on the story in the expected
manner, for example: “A Roman coin that was probably used by soldiers
to pay for sex in brothels has been discovered on the banks of
the River Thames” (Daily Telegraph, 4 Jan 2012) and “Bronze discs
depicting sex acts, like the one discovered in London, were used to hire
prostitutes—and directly led to the birth of pornography during the
Renaissance” (The Guardian, 4 Jan 2012). Even before this particular
spate of media interest, these curious tokens have generated confusion,
speculation and prurience—often simultaneously. They are of interest
to games scholars because the speculation often includes the suggestion
these objects may have had a ludic function, and were used as game
counters. This paper will look at some of the proposals that have been
offered by way of explanation of these peculiar objects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: board games, spintriae, bronze discs, Roman, brothel token
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Science & Technology
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 09 May 2018 09:33
Last Modified: 09 May 2018 09:33
URI: http://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/629

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