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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dice

The historian Herodotus credits the Lydians with the invention of dice. During a famine, he asserts, they had supplied their people with dice. As they had not enough food to eat daily, men and women were given dice to throw every other day. In the excitement of gambling, they forgot about their hunger.

Gamblers in ancient Greece made dice from the ankle-bones and shoulder blades of sheep.

Antique vases show pictures of fighters in the Trojan war bent over gaming boards, eagerly watching the fall of dice.

The imperial palace of the Roman emperors often had a dicing room.


Paintings on ancient Roman tombs depicted the dead enjoying the game, which suggests that dice-throwing was considered worthwhile even in after-life.

German tribes adopted dice from the Romans, Tacitus records they became so addicted to the game that, they were sometimes prepared to lose even their freedom for the sake of continuing a game. They would then sell themselves into slavery to the Romans.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables on March 22, 1630.

In eighteenth-century English gambling dens, there was an employee whose only job was to swallow the dice if there was a police raid.

The phrase High jinks, meaning boisterous fun, derives from the pastime in which dice were thrown and those upon whom the lot fell had to assume some fictitious person or repeat verses, incurring forfeits if they failed.

Since dice aren't allowed in U.S. prisons, inmates who play Dungeons & Dragons use a set of 20 playing cards to make "rolls."

There are 42 dots on a pair of dice.

The dots on a dice are deliberately arranged so that spots on opposite sides always add up to seven.

The dots on dice are called 'pips'.

Source Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999. Published by Webster Publishing, 1998.

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