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“Emperors gamblers”

Romain coins

Suetonius reports that Augustus was a game lover to such extent that he invited his friends and family, gave everyone a sum of 250 denarii in order to encourage them to play. And he did not mind his own legal restrictions introduced in this matter. However, he was not a good player. In the letters he complained that he had suffered numerous losses due to gambling. Also Nero loved to play and was known for high bets. Apparently, they reached up to 400.000 sesterces.

In turn, Claudius had a bone table specifically adapted to play while traveling. Apparently he even wrote a book about its principles. Seneca, by creating a parody to the death of the ruler, introduced him in a hell destined to eternal bone play using a bottomless cup. Another gambling freak was Commodus. When he noticed the void in his treasury, he came up with the idea of ​​organizing a casino in the palace. The crazy emperor Caligula, to pay off his gambling debts, confiscated the estate of several of his soldiers.


  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars

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