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History Mystery: Ancient Dodecahedron's Purpose Remains Secret:(Can you tell what it is?)

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posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 09:36 PM

Can you do what the world's archaeologists can't? Can you explain this -- thing?

Mysterious, 12-sizeds geometric objects known only as "Roman dodecaedrons" have long mystified archaeologists.

It’s been called a war weapon, a candlestick, a child’s toy, a weather gauge, an astronomical instrument, and a religious symbol -- just to name a few. But what IS this mystery object, really? There are books and websites dedicated to properly identifying it, dissertations dedicated to unveiling the truth, textbooks and class curriculums spent arguing over what its function is. Fans can even “Like” it on Facebook. Yet the only thing historians will agree on is a name for the odd object: a Roman dodecahedron.

That part was easy, seeing as the mathematical shape of this artifact is a dodecahedron. Best described as a bronze or stone geometric object, it has twelve flat pentagonal faces, each with a circular hole in the middle (not necessarily the same size). All sides connect to create a hollowed out center. It’s dated from somewhere around the second and third century AD, and has been popping up everywhere in Europe. Archeologists have found the majority of them in France, Switzerland and parts of Germany where the Romans once ruled.

But its use remains a mystery, mostly because the Romans who usually kept meticulous accounts make no mention of it in records. And with sizes varying from 4 to 11 cm, and some bearing decorative knobs, it only gets harder to pinpoint a function

Plutarch, the famous Greek historian reportedly identified the dodecahedron as a vital instrument for zodiac signs. The twelve sides represent the twelve animals in the circle of the Zodiac, but even this theory comes under contest when the argument of the knobs as decoration is presented.


I don't know what to tell ya. I found this interesting piece:


The last measuring point is obtained on the day that sunbeams fall through all the measuring points. In spring, the same measurements can be done (at the end of the measuring period, there will be no measuring point through which the light will fall through because the sun will be higher in the sky), but the hypotheses assumes that the dodecahedrons were only used in autumn.

I think the Romans are connected, as indicated in the artilce. Not to mention the locals at the time most likely didn't have the tech to even make these little buggers.

Anyone have a clue as to their use? Anyone want to take a guess?

I don't know about the idea of it being used for ag purposes but I guess it is as plausable as any other idea.

What about some type to counter/counting device and/or aid?

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 09:47 PM
Looks like something they used for a lottery draw ?

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 09:59 PM
First thing I thought of was some sort of caltrop (for tripping up horses).

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:00 PM
since it is Roman I'm going to say its probably something for torture or war...

Maybe there are some missing pieces? Maybe the knobs are to wind a rope or something around like a dodeca-turnstile type of wrench or something...

edit on 12-6-2011 by Sly1one because: added war

edit on 12-6-2011 by Sly1one because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:02 PM
reply to post by anon72

Plutarch, the famous Greek historian reportedly identified the dodecahedron as a vital instrument for zodiac signs. The twelve sides represent the twelve animals in the circle of the Zodiac, but even this theory comes under contest when the argument of the knobs as decoration is presented.

To me it seems that it is what's mentioned above. As crop predictions, sun, solstice, etc.
Nice find.

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:06 PM
reminds me of "Jacks'

Jacks Game

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:08 PM
Bean Bag Toss. The Romans were crazy competitive and loved the game. The knobbed ones were a variation--and marketing ploy--that added two games for the price of one: Bean Bag Toss & Ring Toss.

Sorry bout that heheh. GREAT OP! Gonna be surfing longer than I thought tonight with this mystery.

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:13 PM
reply to post by anon72

Looks like a cabin or a spaceship
Like the orbs cathced in videos with that pulsating light

did they have the tech to build this?
is it just one piece?

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:18 PM
How do they know it's even Roman?

Could it not have been something that the Romans dug up and found? Or perhaps something that was brought from somewhere else in the world, via trade routes?

Maybe it's just some random decoration. Or perhaps something a metal smith would make as a test to prove his skills.

Another thing that I just randomly thought of, perhaps it's some type of center support for something? Imagine it with wooden poles sticking out of each hole, No idea what that would be used for, though. Just thinking out loud.

Very interesting though, you'd think someone would be able to figure out a somewhat definite idea of what it really is.
edit on 12-6-2011 by James1982 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:22 PM
I think it looks like some kind of game piece. If the Romans never recorded anything about it and they were very good at record keeping. It is probably something so mundane that the Romans didnt consider it to be anything of great importance.
edit on 12-6-2011 by lokdog because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:31 PM
They might be some kind of gambling die. Roman soldiers
probably carried them every place they went.

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 10:46 PM
If it's of Roman origin then why does the map of where they have been discovered show NONE in Italy proper? That plus not much Roman documentation of it, leads me to think it's not a Roman invention.

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 11:09 PM
Looks like a flogging device to me. Just attach a rope or chain to it.

That would leave some nasty welps on someone's back....

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 11:17 PM
It makes sense that the majority were found in France (Gaul at the time). The Gauls were the best metal-workers of their era and had a much superior metal working technology than anybody else at the time (their agricultural tools were beyond what anybody else had, making them, by far, the best farmers. Also, look at their lances; the fleur-de-lys is not a design based on a flower, it's the blade they had at the end of their lances).

I'd look into their culture for an answer. Personally, I'm inclined to think it was just decorative. But it might have served a purpose for something we don't use today and that's why we can't think of it.

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 11:53 PM
reply to post by anon72

quite simple--- really.

you would place this as a set of "positioning" devices to move Heavy objects into the right place by placing a STAFF through the holes and use leverage to move the object ontop of this , in to a better position--

with 12 sides you would be able to move objects into Many directions.. pick your hole, and lift in the direction of alignment..

posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 11:58 PM
If I may employ my diabolical imagination...if these were roped or chained together they could be used like Bolas or perhaps a gladiatorial flail of some type.Maybe net weights.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:30 AM
OK, so this topic's got me intrigued and although my off of the top of my head guess was a caltrop, I've done some digging and I think it may actually be a globe of sorts (of the cosmos) or perhaps a representation of what was considered by many to be the perfect form.

In the Timaeus (55c), Plato suggested that the ideal Earth is spherical, but the actual material Earth is only roughly spherical, a dodecahedron or twelve-sided figure which might be the closest approximation to the Form of a sphere that earthy matter is capable of assuming. So the Earth from space, according to Socrates, might look something like a soccer ball: spherical, yet with hollow regions like the inhabited areas surrounding large seas, like the Mediterranean Sea and the Caspian Sea. These hollow regions would appear from space to flatten out some patches of the globe.

“Well, my dear boy, said Socrates, the real Earth, viewed from above, is supposed to look like one of these balls made of twelve pieces of skin, variegated and marked out in different colors....” (Plato, Phaedo, 110b, Hamilton and Cairns, 91.)

In other words, Socrates suggests that the Earth, if viewed as a globe from space, would display a patchwork of 12 flattened or hollow regions. Later, the Roman-era writer Plutarch argued that just such a view is presented to us on the face of the Moon: “let us not think it an offense to suppose that she [the Moon] is Earth and that for this which appears to be her face, just as our Earth has certain great gulfs, so that Earth yawns with great depths and clefts which contain water or murky air; ...”



Then Heracleon: "But again, we hear you grammarians referring your notions to Homer, as though he divided the Universe into Five Worlds; viz., Heaven, Water, Air, Earth, Olympus: of which, two he leaves in common; Earth, belonging to all that is below; Olympus to all that is above; and the three in the middle are assigned unto the three gods. In this way, then, Plato appears to connect the first and most beautiful forms and patterns of bodies with the divisions of the Universe, and calls them Five Worlds—viz., that of Earth, that of Water. that of Air, that of Fire, and last, that which envelopes them all—namely, that of the Twelve-sided figure, which is widely diffused and versatile, by which supposition, forsooth, he has invented a figure the most appropriate and congenial to the revolutions and the movements of souls."


posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 03:09 AM
Ive got a dungeon masters guide. I've got a 12 sided die. I've got Kitty Pryde. And Nightcrawler too Waiting there for me. Yes I do, I do. I've got posters on the wall, My favorite rock group, KISS. I've got Ace Frehley. I've got Peter Criss Waiting there for me. Yes I do, I do [chorus] In the garage, I feel safe. No one cares about my ways. In the garage where I belong. No one hears me sing this song. In the garage. I've got an electric guitar. I play my stupid songs. I write these stupid words And I love every one Waiting there for me. Yes I do, I do. [chorus] In the garage. Neaarrah! [chorus] In the garage, I feel safe. No one laughs about my ways. In the garage where I belong. No one hears me (x4) No one hears me sing this song.
edit on 13-6-2011 by ZackMorris because: Worlds first D&D die.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 04:18 AM
reply to post by ZackMorris

I want to see/read your guide.

I think you are onto something.

But, why only in these areas?

And, with torture, I would think we would have seen these in Rome also.

I don't know. Been thinking about it most of last night.......

Hopefully an ATSer will know 100% and end the mystery...

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 04:21 AM

candle and some quartz.

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