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Gambling among the ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Greeks , chapter 3, page 1

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GAMBLING AMONG THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, PERSIANS, AND GREEKS

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CHAPTER III. page 1

Concerning the ancient Egyptians we have no particular facts to
detail in the matter of gambling; but it is sufficient to
determine the existence of any special vice in a nation to find
that there are severe laws prohibiting and punishing its
practice. Now, this testimony not only exists, but the penalty
is of the utmost severity, from which may be inferred both the
horror conceived of the practice by the rulers of the Egyptians,
and the strong propensity which required that severity to
suppress or hold it in check. In Egypt, `every man was easily
admitted to the accusation of a gamester or dice-player; and if
the person was convicted, he was sent to work in the
quarries.'[19] Gambling was, therefore, prevalent in Egypt
in the earliest times.

[19] Taylor, _Ductor Dubitantium_, B. iv. c. 1.


That gaming with dice was a usual and fashionable species of
diversion at the Persian court in the times of the younger Cyrus
(about 400 years before the Christian era), to go no higher, is
evident from the anecdote related by some historians of those
days concerning Queen Parysatis, the mother of Cyrus, who used
all her art and skill in gambling to satiate her revenge, and to
accomplish her bloodthirsty projects against the murderers of her
favourite son. She played for the life or death of an
unfortunate slave, who had only executed the commands of his
master. The anecdote is as follows, as related by Plutarch, in
the Life of Artaxerxes.

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