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Atrocities, Duels, Suicides, And Execution Of Gamblers

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI | XII | XIII | XIV

Atrocities, Duels, Suicides, And Execution Of Gamblers

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Casino Gambling in history CHAPTER IV.

The history of all nations is but the record of their cupidity;
and when the fury of gaming appears on the scene, it has never
failed to double the insolence and atrocities of tyranny.

The atrocious gambling of the Hindoo Rajas has been related;[14]
and I have incidentally adverted to similar concomitants of the
vice among all nations. I now propose to bring together a series
of facts specially elucidative of the harrowing theme.

[14] Chapter II.

One of the Ptolemys, kings of Egypt, required all causes to be
submitted to him whilst at play, and pronounced even sentence of
death according to chance. On one occasion his wife, Berenice,
pronounced thereanent those memorable words:--'There cannot be
too much deliberation when the death of a man is concerned'--
afterwards adopted by Juvenal--Nulla unquam de morte hominis
cunctatio longa est.[15]

[15] Aelian, Var. Hist. lib. XLIV. c. xiii.; Juvenal, Sat. vi.

Tolomnius, King of the Veii, happened to be playing at dice when
the arrival of Roman ambassadors was announced. At the very
instant he uttered the word KILL, a term of the game; the word
was misinterpreted by the hearers, and they went forthwith and
massacred the ambassadors. Livy suggests that this was an excuse
alleged AFTER the commission of the deed; but gamesters are
subject to such absence of mind that there is really nothing
incredible or astonishing in the act. 'Sire,' exclaimed a
messenger to the Caliph Alamin, 'it is no longer time for play--
Babylon is besieged!' 'Silence!' said the caliph, 'don't you see
I am on the point of giving checkmate?' The same story is told
of a Duke of Normandy.

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