Gebet’a – World’s Oldest Board Game

Ethiopianism-Ethiopiawinet Online Revival

“One of the earlist evidence of the game are fragments of a pottery board and several rock cuts found in Aksumite Ethiopia in Matara (now in Eritrea) and Yeha (in Ethiopia), which are dated by archaeologists to between the 6th and 7th century AD; the game may have been mentioned by Giyorgis of Segla in his 14th century Ge’ez text “Mysteries of Heaven and Earth”, where he refers to a game called qarqis, a term used in Ge’ez to refer to both Gebet’a (Mancala) and Sant’araz (modern sent’erazh, Ethiopian Chess). The similarity of some aspects of the game to agricultural activity and the absence of a need for specialized equipment present the intriguing possibility that it could date to the beginnings of civilization itself; however, there is little verifiable evidence that the game is older than about 1300 years. Some purported evidence comes from the Kurna temple graffiti in…

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