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The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz

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

 
 

 CHAPTER XIII. page 1

THE LOTTERIES AND THEIR BEWILDERMENTS.

If we are to believe Pere Menestrier, the institution of
Lotteries is to be found in the Bible, in the words--`The _LOT_
causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty,'
Prov. xviii. 18. Be that as it may, it is certain that lotteries
were in use among the ancient Romans, taking place during the
_Saturnalia_, or festivities in honour of the god Saturn, when
those who took part in them received a numbered ticket, which
entitled the bearer to a prize. During the reign of Augustus the
thing became a means of gratifying the cupidity of his courtiers;
and Nero used it as the method of distributing his gifts to the
people,--granting as many as a thousand tickets a day, some of
them entitling the bearers to slaves, ships, houses, and
lands. Domitian compelled the senators and knights to
participate in the lotteries, in order to debase them; and
Heliogabalus, in his fantastic festivities, distributed tickets
which entitled the bearers to camels, flies, and other odd things
suggested by his madness. In all this, however, the distinctive
character of modern lotteries was totally absent: the tickets
were always gratuitous; so that if the people did not win
anything, they never lost.

 

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