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Cock-Fighting

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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Cock-Fighting

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Casino Gambling in history

On one occasion during the Peninsular war, when an important
point was to be carried by assault, the officers were required to
say something encouraging to their men, in order to brace them up
for the encounter; but whilst the majority of the former recalled
the remembrance of previous victories, an Irish captain contented
himself with exclaiming--'Now, my lads, you see those fellows up
there. Well, if you don't kill THEM, SHURE they'll kill YOU.
That's all!' Struck with the comic originality of this address,
the men rushed forward with a laugh and a shout, carrying all
before them.

Among the ancient Greeks the cock was sacred to Apollo, Mercury,
and aesculapius, on account of his vigilance, inferred from his
early rising--the natural consequence of his 'early to bed'--and
also to Mars, on account of his magnanimous and daring spirit.

It seems, then, that at first cock-fighting was partly a
religious, and partly a political, institution at Athens; and was
there continued--according to the above legend--for the purpose
of cherishing the seeds of valour in the minds of youth; but that
it was afterwards abused and perverted, both there and in other
parts of Greece, by being made a common pastime, and applied to
the purpose of gambling just as it was (and is still secretly)
practised in England. An Attic law ran as follows--'Let cocks
fight publicly in the theatre one day in the year.'[69]

[69] Pegge, in Archoeologia, quoting aelian, Columella, &c.

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