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The History Of Dice And Cards

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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The History Of Dice And Cards

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Casino Gambling in history

Plato tells us that dice and gaming originated with a certain
demon, whom he calls Theuth, which seems very much like the
original patronymic of our Teutonic races, always famous for
their gambling propensity. The Greeks generally, however,
ascribed the invention of dice to one of their race, named
Palamedes, a sort of universal genius, who hit upon many other
contrivances, among the rest, weights and measures. But this
worthy lived in the times of the Trojan war, and yet Homer makes
no mention of dice--the astragaloi named by the poet being merely
knuckle-bones. Dice, however, are mentioned by Aristophanes in
his comedies, and so it seems that the invention must be placed
between the times of the two poets, that is, about 2300 years
ago. At any rate the cube or die has been in use as an
instrument of play, at least, during that period of time.

The great antiquity, therefore, of the die as an instrument of
pastime is unquestionable, and the general reason assigned for
its invention was the amusement and relaxation of the mind from
the pressure of difficulties, or from the fatigues and toils of
protracted war. Indeed, one conjecture is, that gaming was
invented by the Lydians when under the pressure of a great
famine; to divert themselves from their sufferings they contrived
dice, balls, tables, &c. This seems, however, rather a bad joke.

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