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Gambling in Ancient Greece

The Earliest Forms of Gambling in Ancient Greece

Gambling as an activity was one of the earliest forms of entertainment, which has been present for quite a long time, across the globe. Long before online casinos, there are many evidences that prove gambling activities dated from the ancient civilisations. More precisely, gambling in its elementary form was a great point of interest to Ancient Greeks. Now, we’re about to reveal some interesting details regarding gambling in Ancient Greece, so stay tuned.

Gambling among Gods

We all know for a fact that gambling was present in Ancient Greece as one of the oldest evidence of human activities. Just like their Egyptian predecessors, the Greeks believed that the act of gambling has started among the Gods. One of the first examples of gambling was taken from the Ancient Greek mythology, when Zeus, Poseidon and Hades cast lots to split parts of the Universe. When the final wager took place, Zeus won the Heaves, Poseidon got the sea, and Hades won over the Underworld, as he chose the short straw.

Another anecdote from the Greek mythology refers to Poseidon (the god of the sea) and Athena (the goddess of wisdom and strength). The two of them competed over the patronage of the city state Athens. They both wagered by making high stakes and, after losing the bet, Poseidon cursed the city of Athens to never have enough water from then on.

The Appearance of the First Games

There are some forms of gambling games that exist today and have been used broadly in Ancient Greece. From the upper class to the peasants and slaves, everyone who lived in Ancient Greece enjoyed gambling and, even though it was illegal at the time, many people still practised it quite often. More precisely, the popular games included Dice games, Heads and tails, Checkers, as well as other games based on luck.

There were plenty of games that were popular in Ancient Greece, but some of the most popular ones were the Checkers and Heads and tails.

Checkers was one of the first board games, which was also called tilia. At first, it was played on a chess board and later got developed to 12 pieces on each side. Heads and tails was another popular game, which was played with a shell at the beginning and later evolved in people using a coin instead. Furthermore, many Greek objects reveal the scenes of betting, where people are shown to bet on dog, chicken and bird fights.

With the arrival of the Dice in Ancient Greece, there were two types of dice games that were popular: the ones that included board games and the others which only involved the dices. In fact, most of these games were usually played with three or four dices, which were thrown after being shaken in a special cup.

Games Changed over Centuries

In the ancient times, any form of casting of dices was not considered to have much to do with luck, as it was believed the outcome was controlled by the gods. Throwing dices was a way of making guesses and betting on circumstances.

Naturally, games have changed throughout the centuries and eventually became more advanced, which only brought more pleasurable forms of gambling. As a result, favourites like online slots and table games became the final products that grew in popularity up until the present day.

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