By Jana Bohrer
The Byzantines were enthusiastic gamblers and spiced up the game by using three dice.
The Emperor Zeno was a particularly high roller, if not a lucky one. The Emperor once found himself in the following remarkable position.
Red (Zeno) to play a 2-5-6. Money game.
Forced Play: XX/XXII, XVIIII/XXIIII, X/XVI
Snowie says the result is negative equity of -996.02%
EX BG has it at -1025.23%
Staring down the barrel of a loaded triple, Zeno patiently asked for a position parchment and penned the play for posterity, then pointed to the palace guard who “paid” his opponent.
The incident did result a positive technological development. Zeno decreed that henceforth, match recording scribes could use the previously outlawed and heretical Arabic numeral system to notate games as Roman numerals were proving a bit cumbersome.