Were you aware that gambling has existed in many cultures around the world? If you were, you’ve probably been surprised by the evidence. The oldest known dice date back to approximately 3000-2500 BC. Before the invention of dice, ancient people gambled for livestock and items. In fact, the Egyptians were the first culture to participate in games of chance for money. Senet, a board game that involves dice, is thought to date back thousands of years. Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations were also fond of gambling and had dice made out of animal bones.
In ancient Egypt, gambling was an important part of religious rituals. The Egyptians were famous for their intricate techniques and care of the dead, and it’s believed that gambling was an early form of religion. The god Nut was the most famous of all of them, and is believed to have developed gambling as a form of worship. He was said to have married Geba, a goddess of fertility, to facilitate the process of calculating the winners of their games.
In ancient Egypt, a game known as checkers was played with elephant tusks. Later, a six-sided dice based on the astragali was invented in Mesopotamia, around 3000 BC. The game is still played in modern societies today, but it may have originated thousands of years ago. The ancient Egyptians were not the first to play gambling, but they were among the first to use a dice.
Keno, a game similar to lottery, was popular in ancient China. It was a common way to fund public works. In Europe, it was common for people to play card games in casinos, and it was even used to fund the construction of universities such as Harvard and Yale. Once gambling became a common practice in society, it spread across cultures and eras. Eventually, gambling spread and became regulated, resulting in numerous games throughout the world.
The ancient Romans, who were known for their superstitions and religious practices, enjoyed games of chance. While the games of chance were hazardous to horses and drivers, they were considered a fun way to pass time. The medieval era was when gambling in Egypt really took off. Europeans and Asian civilizations had their own variations of gambling, and it was common for emperors to place expensive items and gifts.
The Greeks were also known to have played checkers and heads and tails games. The game was originally called tilia but later referred to as head and tails. Ancient Greeks used shells to play the game, but eventually switched to coins. Interestingly, several Greek artifacts depict gambling scenes. In addition to the Greeks, Native Americans also played games of chance. Their gambling stick games were primarily played by women, but men would bet on the results of the gambling sessions of their wives.
In ancient Greece, gambling was an ongoing topic. While playing dice games and other games of chance, they also competed with one another, which is reflected in the name of the game: the Throw of Aphrodite, which is when the lucky person rolls two sixes. While the Greeks played dice games for fun, the Romans refined the Greeks’ methods, incorporating slavery into their games.