The knights of hazard and devotees of chance, who live in and by
the rattle of the box, little know, or care, perhaps, to whom
they are indebted for the invention of their favourite cube.
They will solace themselves, no doubt, on being told that they
are pursuing a diversion of the highest antiquity, and which has
been handed down through all civilized as well as barbarous
nations to our own times.
The term 'cube,' which is the figure of a die, comes originally
from the Arabic word 'ca'b,' or 'ca'be,' whence the Greeks
derived their cubos, and cubeia, which is used to signify any
solid figure perfectly square every way--such as the geometrical
cube, the die used in play, and the temple at Mecca, which is of
the same figure. The Persic name for 'die' is 'dad,' and from
this word is derived the name of the thing in Spanish,
Portuguese, and Italian, namely, dado. In the old French it is
det, in the plural dets; in modern French de and dez, whence our
English name 'die,' and its plural 'dies,' or 'dice.'