Bronze dodecahedron from Roman Period

Dave

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Actually, I've changed my mind. It is neither a toy building system, nor a gaming dice. As for a sock knitting aid, is that the best your can come up with after a whole year?

No, I know exactly what they were used for:

 

Dave

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However, if it is a device to knit glove fingers, then @J-WO was spot on here:
Whatever they were used for we can safely say it wasn't anything that directly concerned the writers of all the Roman literature that comes down to us. So upper class free men likely had no interest. Such a pricey object rules out slaves too. So you're looking at the military, rich free women, skilled workmen or an organised faith. Which, admittedly, is a very wide group.
 

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I was noticing the part about northern area and in the mountains - i.e. where you need gloves.

Also 17th century re-enactment again - a metal needle was a pricey object and you'd keep it in its own wooden case and look after it very carefully. Having several needles of different sizes, again an investment. So the bronze dodecahedron would be more expensive than a needle, but potentially within reach of skilled/semi-skilled people. Or could be owned by a community - and handed round to whoever is making glove fingers this hour/half-day.
 

Montero

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If they are for knitting glove fingers, being of varying sizes works. Would also speculate that there could have been lots of wooden ones around that haven't survived.
 

Yozh

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If they are for knitting glove fingers, being of varying sizes works. Would also speculate that there could have been lots of wooden ones around that haven't survived.
If it was really useful in this way, would expect similar object to have been in use throughout the glove-making world until Industrial Revolution.
 

Pyan

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But saying that, if we lost running water, decent roads, central heating, proper government, brickmaking and the Pax Romana, etc, it's hardly surprising that a knitting gadget was also lost.
 

Montero

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My mother, who could knit 8 needle cable stitch while watching the TV, tried to teach me to knit. It was knit one, purl one, drop one. Too young for it to be swear one. Mother nobly reined in her frustration but I could feel it radiating off her. Gave up on that pretty quickly.
However crochet, and French knitters - which the dodecahedron would fall in the category of if a knitting aid - are fine. A hook and thread is OK, two fiddly needles, not. I don't really do chop sticks either.
 

Dave

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The father of the husband of a distant cousin of mine is credited with bringing Framework Knitting Machines to Scotland from Leicester (the story goes that the relation was actually intending to emigrate to North America, and had walked from Leicester to Liverpool, but for some reason took a boat to Scotland instead.) So, he is responsible for the entire Scottish Borders sock and stocking industry (as it once was.)

In this video from Leicester Industrial History Society at 6.16 minutes you can see rotating knitting machines to create stockings that work in a more mechanised way to a hand-held French Knitting device or to the roman dodecahedron.

 

Elckerlyc

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It does remind me somewhat of a spool-knitter. Only one that does allow for variations in diameter, where spool-knitters today usually allow only for one size.
It has the looks of a costly tool, only fit for the elite. On the other hand, these objects have mostly been found near Roman military sites and not (afaik) near Roman villas. I wonder though whether such a tool would be tricky to make out of would, when iron is more malleable, knobs and all.
Also in favour of the finger-glove tool; these objects have only been found in NW-Europe and not in more warmer regions of the Roman Empire.
 

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