gaming, or playing at a game of chance of any kind. [TALI, TESSERAE, PAR IMPAR.]
Gaming was looked down upon at Rome; and hence aleator
was used as a term of reproach (Cic. in Cat. 2.1. 0
, 23; ad Att.
14.5; “alea turpis,”
; “damnosa alea,” id.
14.4). It was also forbidden by special laws during the times of the
republic and under the [p. 1.97]
emperors ( “vetita
Hor. Carm. 3.24.58
; Cic. Phil. 2.23
; Ov. Tr. 2.470
ff.; Dig. 11
, tit. 5.) Three such laws occur in the Digest
)--the Leges Titia, Publicia, and
Cornelia--and likewise a senatus consultum,
the praetor's edict; the latter enacting severe penalties on persons
compelling others to gamble, and disabling the keepers of gambling-houses
from bringing any action for damage or loss against their customers (cf.
Ulpian, fr. 1). At what time the two former laws were passed is quite
uncertain; but the Lex Cornelia was probably one of the laws of the dictator
Sulla, who, we know, made several enactments to check the extravagance and
expense of private persons. [SUMPTUS.] It has been
inferred from the Miles Gloriosus
(2.2, 9) that
gaming must have been forbidden by law in Plautus' time; but the lex talaria
Ritschl) in this passage seems rather to refer to the laws of the game than
to any public enactment. Those who were convicted of gaming were condemned
to pay four times the sum they had staked (Pseudo-Ascon. in
§ 24, p. 110, ed.
Orelli), and became infames
in consequence. We
know that infamia
was frequently a consequence
of a judicial decision [INFAMIA
]; and we may infer that it was so in this case from the
expression of Cicero. ( “Hominem lege, quae est de alea, condemnatum,
in integrum restituit,
). Games of chance were, however, tolerated in
the month of December at the Saturnalia, a period of general relaxation
; Gel. 18.13
; Suet. Aug. 71
); and public opinion allowed old
men to amuse themselves in this manner (Plaut. Curc.
Cic. de Sen.
16, 58). Under the empire gambling
was carried to a great height (cf. Juv.
); and the laws were probably
little more than nominal. Many of the early emperors--Augustus, Caligula,
Claudius, Vitellius, and Domitian--were very fond of gaming, and set but an
evil example to their subjects in this matter (Suet.
; D. C. 59.22
; Suet. Cal. 41
33; D. C. 60.2
; Suet. Dom. 21
). Professed gamesters made a
regular study of their art, and there were treatises on the subject, among
which was a book written by the Emperor Claudius (Ov. Tr. 2.471
; Suet. Claud. l.c.
). All gaming was
forbidden finally by Justinian (Cod. 3, tit. 43). (Walter, Geschichte
d. röm. Rechts,
§ 763; Rein,
Criminalrecht der Römer,