Over 100 of these anonymous and enigmatic objects have been discovered on Roman sites in Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and Eastern Europe.
They do not appear in any surviving pictures of the time, although, they can be found in museums and many private collections.
The purpose of these odd objects – commonly known as a Roman dodecahedron – has been widely discussed, but it is completely unknown why they were created.
Were the dodecahedron really created by the Romans or just named “Roman” because many of them were unearthed in countries that once were part of the Roman Empire?
It seems that the artifact’s origin is also unclear because it’s existence was never mentioned in the Roman, meticulously kept accounts.
In fact, the artifact’s existence has never been mentioned in any known ancient source!
It’s logical to assume that the objects are simply a mystery, dated from the 2nd or 3rd century AD.
The dodecahedron are made of bronze or stone and has twelve flat pentagonal faces sides, each with a circular hole in the middle, (usually not the same size).
The objects are relatively small. They range in size from 4 to 11 cm and exists in a variety of designs and sizes, but always consist of 12 regular pentagons.
Despite a lot of speculation, the function of the dodecahedron has not been determined.
Many have long made attempts to unveil the truth about this mysterious ancient artifact. Some have suggested that the dodecahedron was a surveying instrument.
According to others, these were candle- or flower stands, finger ring-size gauges or even a toy to throw and catch on a stick.
Most recently people come up with an idea that the dodecahedron represents “a sacred symbol for Druids” but for example, Plutarch (c. 46 – 120 AD), a Greek historian, biographer and essayist identified the dodecahedron as a vital instrument for zodiac signs.
The twelve sides, according to him, represent the twelve animals in the circle of the Zodiac.
However, the question is: on what basis did Plutarch make this identification? And how about strange knobs? Were they just a decoration or a detail of any significant importance?
Among the discovered objects, there is also a Roman icosahedron – very similar in shape and but its purpose remains a mystery as well.
We can analyze this puzzling artifact from the ancient world – over and over again, but we are still not able to figure out its purpose, its function and its inventor.
Obviously the ancient Romans or someone else invented “something” which we cannot explain today!
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