08-16-2013, 10:16 AM
#1
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[Image: QaCfnHj.jpg]

I did a little light research this morning.

The phrase 'cast the die' comes from Julius Caesar's irreversible decision to cross the River Rubicon with his troops in 49 BC, starting a civil war. It derives from the Latin 'iacta alea est,' a mistranslation by Suetonius of the Ancient Greek phrase of Menander 'anerriphtho kybos,' which Caesar quoted in Greek.


"He [Caesar] declared in Greek with loud voice to those who were present 'Let the die be cast' and led the army across."
— Plutarch, Life of Pompey

"Caesar said ... 'the die has been cast'."
— Suetonius, Vita Divi Iuli (The Life of the deified Julius), 121 CE


'Alea' refers to the early form of backgammon that was played in Caesar's time. Augustus (Octavian) mentions winning this game in a letter. Dice were common in Roman times, and generally known as cubus.

A similar gaming phrase is 'the chips are down,' which means when the pressure is on, when the situation is urgent or critical. This comes from the idiomatic French phrase 'Les jeux sont faits' (the plays are made), an expression used mainly by the croupier in casino gambling to mean 'the bets have been placed.'

So when you see the antique die or dice in my SOTD image, you know that it not only indicates how many shaves I've gotten from the current blade, but also that I've placed my bet, that I've committed myself to that day's shaving gear - I've crossed the Rubicon for the day.

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 08-16-2013, 10:23 AM
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John, lovely explanation and historical lesson! Biggrin

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 08-16-2013, 10:26 AM
#3
  • CRAusmus
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I never knew that the roll of the die was the shave count on the blade...That is awesome...

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 08-16-2013, 10:59 AM
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  • freddy
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  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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(08-16-2013, 10:26 AM)CRAusmus Wrote: I never knew that the roll of the die was the shave count on the blade...That is awesome...

Neither did I, John. Brilliant! Thumbsup Thanks for the history lesson. Smile

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 08-16-2013, 11:26 AM
#5
  • Grumpy
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Thanks for the History Lesson.

When I see the antique dice in your SOTD image, I will try to remember that it not only indicates how many shaves you've gotten from the current blade, but also that you've placed your bet.

Otherwise, I will think that with the "8" that the point is set, with a "2" or "3" that I crapped out, and with a "7" or an "11" that I am feeling Lucky and want my pass line bet paid off.

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 08-16-2013, 12:18 PM
#6
  • Fab
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  • New York, NY
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Thanks for this interesting post. And the creativity of using in your sod post!

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