Gambling of the Ancients
By Alex J. Coyne © 2017 for Gifts For Card Players
While the first slot machine saw the casino floor for the first time in 1894, gambling is by no means a new phenomenon. In fact, we’d guess that gambling has been around about as far as mankind. We wend digging for some more information about the gambling of the ancients…
Ancient Egyptians were well-acquainted with games for money; in fact, they used this hieroglyph to represent game pieces: It is also argued that Senet, played frequently by the ancient Egyptians and still played today, is one of the world’s most ancient board games known to us. (You can play a more modern version of Senet online over here, or you can find the rules for the ancient board game at Masters of Games!) They were also known to play other games including Horse and Jackal – yes, that would have been exactly like going to the tracks.
The cure for a gambling addiction, at least according to the Egyptians, was a sentence of forced labour.
Gambling gets a mention in the ancient Greek pantheon, as it was believed that the Gods – Zeus, Poseidon and Hades – cast lots to choose their parts of the universe.
The Greeks were known gamblers: According to accounts by historian and playwright Sophocles, it was the Greeks who gave us the invention of dice. (We have to point out here that Gambling.net notes the discovery of dice earlier in ancient Egypt!) Furthermore, according to Ancient Manners: Also Known as Aphrodite (2011) by Peter Louys, throwing two sixes was known to the Greeks as “the throw of Aphrodite.”
But, we dare to ask, who came up with the invention of the sexy dice?
While gambling is officially outlawed in modern-day China, we can say that they have a long and colourful history with bets, gambles and wagers – and might have been one of the earliest civilizations to bet on anything. Games popular for the ancient Chinese include Wei-Qi, Yue Har Hai and Mahjong, of course. Even dominoes have been found in ancient China, going back to approximately 700 B.C.
The base for many card games are also believed to originate from China, where many people believe playing cards themselves originated from.
The Ancient Aztecs
Yup, even the ancient Aztec-civilizations enjoyed a game or two – in their case, it was a game known as Patolli. The stakes for the game could be set very high, and you could end up betting your entire store or family in the process. You can challenge yourself to an online version of Partolli here thanks to games developers Oca Studios, minus the potential of human sacrifice if you lose, of course…
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