Judith and Holofernes

Judith and Holofernes,  trictrac checker, circa 17th century C.E. Ivory, Louvre Museum, Paris.

This small ivory game piece was used to play a French version of backgammon known as trictrac. Played with a board, chips, dice, and a deck of cards, trictrac is much like today’s backgammon. Two players are each given 15 checkers to move around the board according to the roll of the dice. This ivory example was found in Bayeux in 1838 and is adorned with an intricate relief carving of Judith in the act of beheading Holofernes. According to the deuterocanonical book of Judith, the Assyrian general Holofernes desires the eponymous character and invites her into his tent. Judith is aware of his plans to obliterate her hometown and plots to destroy him.  So when Holofernes passes out from too much drink, Judith decapitates him. The inscription on the perimeter reads olo fer nvs, meaning Holofernes. 

Judith and Holofernes trictrac checker, circa 17th century C.E

A general of Nebuchadnezzar who attacked Israel, according to the Book of Judith, but was ultimately beheaded by Judith.

Literally, "second canon"; refers to texts accepted by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as sacred scripture, but not included in the Hebrew Bible. Not to be confused with Apocrypha, which include noncanonical works.

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