Pretty medieval manuscript of the day depicts men playing dice. The illustration accompanies a calendar, which is the first part of a Book of Hours. According to the Walters Museum:
“Dice players make an unexpected appearance in this calendar, for gambling is a rare theme for January. They are playing “raffle,” a game won by rolling three matching numbers at once, similar to modern slot machines. There seems to be some debate over the winning throw of three 3s, for both players point at the dice, but the peddlar’s smile suggests he has the upper hand over his disgruntled wealthy opponent. Perhaps he is using weighted dice, a common trick still used today.”
I think the clothing the men wear in this scene is fascinating. There is no doubting anyone’s social status! The peddlar, hatless and mussed of hair, has torn breeches and no stockings. In short sleeves, carrying all his wordly goods on his back, he stands at the table whilst his wealthy ermine-clad opponents sit.
Image source: Walters Museum MS W449. Creative Commons licensed via Wikimedia Commons.
Master Jean de Mauléon. Playing Dice (c.1524)