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5 awesome historical facts about the lottery
Did you know that one biblical celebrity got chucked in the water for losing the lotto? Or how one superstar philosopher made a fortune rigging it? You don't have to be a history buff to appreciate these 5 awesome facts about lottery games.
Not only can the lottery make you rich. The game itself also has a rich history.
We dug deep into the books and gathered the craziest lottery stories we could find.
1. The one with the biblical superstar thrown overboard
We are talking about Jonah, the superstar of The Book of Jonah. It is part of the Old Testament. This is pretty much all the background knowledge you need to read on.
In one chapter of the bestseller, Jonah goes on a boat trip. But the central character makes the mistake of going against God's wish. He travels in the opposite direction! You do not have to be religious to count this as bad decision-making.
Anyway, Jonah is on the boat cruising along. Soon enough a storm blows up. Here is where it gets interesting. The sailors on the ship blame one another for causing the storm. As all professional seamen do.
To decide who caused the storm they held a bizarre raffle.
You do not get any points for guessing who ends up losing the lottery. Jonah picks the short straw and is soon enough chucked overboard.
But Jonah is saved. A giant fish (or a whale, depending on which version of the scripture you read) swallows him alive. Inside, he has all the time in the world to make peace with God. Later, he is washed up on a beach.
This story about losing the lottery is one of the earliest mentions of the game in history.
2. Lottery funded this great world monument
Emperor Qin Shi Huang commissioned the Great Wall of China around 220 BC to protect his empire.
This work set the foundation for what would later become one of the world's most iconic monuments. While it is a myth that the wall can is seen from the moon, it is massive. It runs 13,171 miles (or 21,196 km).
The Great Wall came at a huge cost of human life. The materials also came at a price. That is why the construction was partly funded through a lottery.
3. History's greatest speaker hated the lottery
The rhetorical rockstar Cicero is often cited as history's greatest speaker. The history of ancient Rome would not be complete without him.
But what did he have against the lottery?
Back then fraudsters used games of chance to predict the future. This nonsense is something that persists to this day. Cicero's words on the matter still ring true:
"The whole system of peering into the future by means of lots, was the invention of tricksters who were only interested in their own financial welfare."
4. The king who won all major prizes in his own draw
Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, had a good old time in France during the years 1643 to 1715. He reigned supreme and surrounded himself with unimaginable luxury.
He renovated what was essentially a hunting lodge transforming it into to the palace of Versailles.
Perhaps money ran tight in the end. Because what the king did next was out of order.
What did he do? He organised a lottery on his wedding day. Guests could play for prizes. Nothing wrong with that.
But when the results were in, guests were everything but satisfied.
It turned out the king and his inner entourage collected all the major prizes. The other players were understandably outraged. Apologies were made and the king was forced to pay back his winnings.
5. French superstar cracks the lottery code
Voltaire, the famous French philosopher and writer, did not make all his money selling pamphlets. The 18th century man had a far more lucrative way of making dough.
Voltaire would later become famous for saying things like, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
But before saying that he made a fortune by breaking the national lottery. He did this with his friend, the talented mathematician Charles Marie de la Condamine.
The two of them made crazy amounts of money before the then Minister of France caught on to them.