Venus Throw

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The Venus Throw was the highest roll in the Ancient Roman gambling game of tali (knucklebones). The game was played with four 4-sided rectangular dice numbered I, III, IV and VI, usually made from sheep's or goat's knucklebones. In a Venus Throw, each talus landed on a different side, yielding as a score of 14. A gambler would either throw the tali from his or her hand, or from a small box, (called a fritillus). Thirty-five different throws were possible. While the Venus throw was the highest, the Vulture throw (all aces) — also known as the Dog throw — was the lowest. The Venus throw could be used to designate the master of the revels.

The Venus Throw is also a novel in the Roma Sub Rosa series set in ancient republican Rome by author Steven Saylor.


  • Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, p. 1095 [1]
  • Charlton T. Lewis; Charles Short A Latin Dictionary, p. 782