Dice were originally small ivory or bone cubes, the six sides of which are marked with black dots from one to six. These dots are so arranged that any two opposite sides on the cube always make up the number seven. Two dice are called a pair. They were used chiefly for gambling purposes, but they were also employed in backgammon and other games.
Dice boxes were made in ancient times of leather or wood or some equally suitable material, and so constructed that no trickery could be resorted to in the throwing of the dice. Palamades is said to have invented dice about the year 1244 B.C., but we have still earlier evidences of their use in Egyptian times. In the British Museum, in the Egyptian gallery, is to be seen an ivory astragal, which belonged to the Queen Hatesu in around 1600 B.C.