Gambling in ancient Rome

Gambling has existed in all civilisations around the world, and the Romans were not deprived of it. As a matter of fact, the Romans were the only ones who gambled without taking the social status into account. All citizens of the roman empire were engaged in the activity of gambling. Slavery was prevalent in the realm, and these slaves were treated as objects instead of humans, yet gambling was familiar to slaves too. It was an engaging activity where people could pass the time and involve themselves in this thrilling enterprise. Only women were not allowed to take part in betting and similar activities as the social dynamics were highly patriarchal. Given the high level of addiction to gambling, it would be safe to believe that some women in the upper class were allowed to place bets or be a part of these gambling events.

Board games were popular in all cultures; in Rome, the popular board game was played using three dice. The board consisted of 36 squares, all of which has symbols engraved in them. The most favoured combination was a throw of three sixes at once. Later the Roman empire banned gambling throughout the region and only allowed it on days of celebration. The Romans are known to have started the idea of Christmas via their celebrations of Saturnalia in the month of December. This festival was known to be the most auspicious one and was celebrated in memory of Saturn, which the Romans believed to be the god of agriculture. Private gambling sessions at home followed each year celebrations. On this day, both slaves and masters were equal and sat at the dinner table together. Paintings and similar art have been found belonging to the Roman empire which shows some men at tavern playing a board game, with one man rolling the dice and others observing curiously and drinking.

Board games

The Colosseum in Rome is an outstanding example of a culture where armed sports thrived under the name of Gladiatorial shows for public entertainment. These gladiatorial shows were open to betting, and it went on for seasons like a competition and gave plenty of chance to make money. The crown itself organised these fights either as an annual event or in times of a special celebration. Matches would begin in fighting pits all around the empires, and the winners of these individual pits would fight against other survivors in district matches. At last, the winners of different provinces and districts would compete against each other at the capital in the famous Colosseum which would house more than 50,000 spectators at once. Betting would be done in stages just as the matches under independent bookies.

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