Entertainment and games in ancient egypt

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  • Ancient Egyptian Board Games were played by all classes of people.

  • Some games were only available to the wealthy, but there were a number of games created for the poorer classes.

  • Many types of board games have been discovered by archeologists, but finding the rules of the games have been harder to find.

    • Determining how to play the board games has taken a little guess work dependent on where the games were discovered and what condition they were discovered in.

  • Senet

    • an ancient Egyptian board game for two players, is played on a 30 square board with 3 rows of 10 squares each.

    • At the beginning of the game, alternating colored markers are placed on the squares in the first row.

    • The object of the game is to move your pieces off the board by moving them in a zigzag pattern to the 30th square.

    • Egyptians used four flat sticks that were dark on one side and light on the other.

    • Depending on how the sticks landed, you could "roll" a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6. If you roll a 1, 4, or 6, you get another turn. Your goal is to move all your pieces off the board.

      • Some other rules:

    • You can't land on your own pieces.

    • You can land on an opponent's pieces and switch it with your previous position if he isn't on a safe square, if he doesn't have more than 2 pieces in the same row, or if his pieces are "paired" or next to each other.

    • There are safe squares in which you can't swap out pieces and there are danger squares which place you back on a previous row.

  • Mehan

    • was a popular game for the lower classes because the game board could be drawn or carved into any surface, including a dirt floor.

    • Wealthier Egyptians had game tables made on a pedestal, resembling a mushroom.

    • A snake is coiled around the board and players start at the tail.

    • The body of the snake is split into squares; a typical snake had about 60 squares to push through.

    • The object is to be the first to move your piece from the tail to the snake's head.

    • Up to six players used lions and lionesses and ball pieces to maneuver around the board.

  • Seega

    • is an ancient Egyptian board game similar to checkers where you attempt to capture your opponent's pieces.

    • Some Egyptologists have even likened Seega to Risk.

    • Gameplay is on a 5 x 5 board.

    • To start, players place two pieces on the board, one player on the X's and other on the O's

    • Then, each player alternatively places the rest of their 10 pieces on the board while leaving the center square empty.

  • You capture a piece when you move your piece and 'sandwich' an opponent's piece.

  • Pieces can only be moved into empty, non-diagonal, and adjacent squares.

  • You can move pieces into a space that is sandwiched by your opponent.

  • This makes your piece safe.

  • If a player can't make a move at all, then that player can remove one of the opponent's pieces to make room for a move.

  • One last rule is that if, after making a move and capturing a piece, that same piece can move again and capture another piece, then that player can continue to move that piece.

  • It is possible to have two, three, and four move combos.

Ancient Egyptian Sports


  • The Ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of different sports. Various sports have been depicted in various paintings and in ancient documents providing significant information about this subject.

  • Sporting artifacts have also been found in tombs.

  • The Ancient Egyptians were also known to enjoy competitive sports and were an exciting form of entertainment. The winners of sports contests were rewarded with money and special large collars known as the usekh which half covered the shoulders and chest. Many of the competitive Ancient Egyptian sports are still featured in the Olympic Games.

List of Ancient Egyptian Sports

  • Archery

  • Boxing

  • Equestrian (horses) Sports Including Chariot Racing

  • Fencing - Sword fights using wooden swords

  • Gymnastics

  • Hockey - an early form of this sport was played as a team sport

  • Rowing

  • Swimming

  • Weightlifting

  • Wrestling

  • Various Ball Games

Ancient Egyptian Sports - Athletics

Ancient Egyptian Pastimes - Hunting and Fishing

  • The Ancient Egyptians enjoyed sports related activities such as hunting and fishing.

  • Hunting could be an extremely dangerous sport due to the wild nature of the animals which were hunted.

  • The Ancient Egyptians used hunting dogs to help them capture their prey.

  • Sighthounds have exceptional eyesight, combined with the speed and stamina necessary to catch the intended prey.

  • The Pharaoh Hound originated in ancient Egypt and was bred primarily as a sight hound to hunt gazelle and other small game. It is no coincidence that the Pharaoh Hound's likeness in Egyptian art so strongly resembles the Egyptian jackal god, Anubis, the Watchdog of the Dead, in fact the Pharaoh Hound is the oldest domesticated dog in written records, dating back to before 3,000 B.C.

The animals which were hunted by the Ancient Egyptians include the following:

  • Badger

  • Crocodile

  • Deer

  • Elephant

  • Fox

  • Gazelle

  • Giraffe

  • Hare

  • Hippopotamus

  • Hyena

  • Ibex

  • Jackal

  • Leopard

  • Lion

  • Oryx

  • Ostrich

  • Porcupine

  • Rhinoceros

  • Weasel

Although hunting was a popular sport the hunted animals had many uses.

  • The most obvious was to use the meat for eating.

  • But other uses were for their skins or feathers.

  • Ivory came from the tusk of the elephant and the teeth of the hippopotamus.

  • Some animals were taken alive to be used as offerings to the gods.

    • These were kept in zoos, a little known invention of the Ancient Egyptians.

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