Hall and Forsyth based their analysis on the emergence and origin of board games, which have been one of the principal means for entertaining and learning since ancient times. They aimed to prove the existence of Roman roots in their creation and application. The belief that games can be considered a universal phenomenon given to humankind is denied. On the contrary, Hall states that board games result from exclusively intercultural interaction of nationalities with the Roman Empire, which became the source of their appearance.
The thought is based and developed on a culturally contextualized view of the game. It is claimed that table games have specific origins and respond to stimuli; they did not arise as a result of mass borrowing but are a creative adaptation to local cultural and social conditions. It is assumed that they can be compared to cultural translators that enhance interaction between people. Presumably, they came to Britain from Gaul, as an element of borrowed traditions, like wine drinking, coinage, or burial. Thus, the author identifies board games with cultural means, which may have been both entirely borrowed and adapted, but one thing remains unchanged: their Roman origins.
Mark Hall, the first author, is currently employed as History Officer at Perth Museum and Art Gallery in Scotland. He is an honorary research fellow at Glasgow University, Sheffield, and the University of the Highlands. The strong point of the research is a large number of applications. They are based on archaeological and historical data, a detailed study of materials, and their substantiation. Such a display of information allows for clear parallels between different types of gambling in diverse periods. However, the author focuses a lot of attention on the characteristics of British and Irish elements. At the same time, it would be better to notice the Roman games as they are the basis of the research.
Hall, Mark and Katherine Forsyth. ‘Roman Rules? The Introduction of Board Games to Britain and Ireland.’ Antiquity, vol. 85, no. 330, 2011, pp. 1325–1338.