One thing that makes this piece so interesting is that there don't seem to be any early written record of what they are, or what they were used for. Now that's interesting, don't you think?
Photo credit: Woudloper
Throughout the regions that were once within the sphere of influence of the Roman Empire, from Wales to the Mediterranean, about 100 small, strangely shaped objects have been found and are, to this day, completely unexplained. Called “dodecahedrons” after their shape, each one is a hollow stone or bronze object, 4–12 centimeters (1.5–5 in) in diameter, with 12 flat pentagonal faces and holes of varying sizes on each face. Small knobs protrude from each corner. While the Romans were usually meticulous about keeping written records about everything they did, nobody has ever found a definitive account of these objects. The closest we have is Plutarch, who reportedly thought they were some kind of zodiacal instruments.
Some people think they were instruments of war. Others believe they had religious or astronomical significance, since many have been found in temples. A popular hypothesis is that they were used to measure the optimal sowing time for winter grain. Still others believe they were candlestick holders or children’s toys, and one man even thinks they were an aid for knitting gloves. Whatever they were, the dodecahedrons were a fairly common object throughout the Roman Empire. Until we find some written record or discover one within a context that establishes its use, these bizarre puzzle-boxes will remain a mystery.
Don't you just love these older mysteries that haven't been solved yet? There is probably a very simple explanation of what they are and what their use was, but if that's the case...where are the records?
Coffee out on the patio again today. Temps are on the rise and the sun is supposed to shine again!