The Throw of Isis-Aphrodite: A rare decorated knucklebone from the Metropolitan Museum of New York

Table of Contents


Author: Ada Nifosi
Publication Date: 2022
Published in: The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Volume 108, Issue 1-2, June-December 2022, pp. 1-13.

Paper, 23 pages
Open Access

Link to the paper on Sage Journals website:


Knucklebones were ubiquitous objects in the ancient world and they had several meanings, from gaming pieces to oracular dice. The study of a new unpublished decorated knucklebone from Graeco Roman Egypt with a ‘Baubo’ image of a squatting naked woman, preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, offers the opportunity to explore the variety of contexts of use of decorated knucklebones in this area: from play and divination to Orphic rituals and local religious festivals. Its decorated sides represent three Graeco-Egyptian deities whose meanings and magical interactions can be understood through the comparison with other Romano-Egyptian gaming pieces, terracottas, magical gems and papyri.