Gambling Through The Ages
Games of chance have always been popular, and history is filled with tales of men that have
wagered their luck in exchanged for money, fame or power, and while some of them were lucky enough to walk away as
winners, others lost more than just a few silver coins. References to gambling in ancient times are not only passed
down in oral histories, but it can also be seen on pieces of art that have managed to survive until the present
The Ancient World
Rome and Greece were hubs of social, intellectual and spiritual activity, and gambling
seems to have been a big part of the social sphere. It wasn’t only the upper class that enjoyed these games of
chance; just about everyone from emperors to slaves enjoyed partaking in these events when they could. It is
interesting to note that gambling was actually illegal in these times, but that didn’t stop the populace from
betting their wages in the hopes of walking away winners.
Fortuna, the Goddess of Chance
Ancients put just about every facet of their day-to-day lives into the hands of the gods,
and gambling was no different. Fortuna was the goddess of chance and fortune, and when the stakes were high, people
called on her to back them and possibly bring them a bit of luck. Since the gods themselves often partook in the
activities of men, they were also known to gamble; in fact, many believed that this concept was actually invented
by the deities on Olympus. In one tale, brothers Hades, Poseidon and Zeus draw lots so that they can decide who
will rule the various parts of the universe. Since Zeus emerged the victor, he was able to rule the earth, while
his brothers had to make do with the sea and the underworld.
The Origin of Cards
Card games can be found in just about every casino throughout the world, and yet it cannot
be pinpointed exactly where these games originated. Some people believe that the games were invented in India or
China around 10th Century AD, but it was later brought over to the Muslim world where it was redesigned. Cards in
the 1300′s were very expensive, and so only the nobility could afford them.
The Decline and Rise of Gambling
In the 15th century, these games were on the decline, and gambling was altogether banned.
By the 17th century, the games were established within the Americas, allowing them to rise in popularity once
again; something that continues to this day.