The first lotteries date back to antiquity both the Romans and the Chinese had them, but they weren’t quite like modern ones. The first true national lottery was created in the Netherlands in 1400, other European countries soon followed.
The first national lottery of England and Wales was held in 1569. The papers promoting it were also hung in churches, St Paul’s Cathedral had one on the door.
The lottery was created to pay off state debts, particularly the cost of ships and ports. It was Queen Elizabeth I who developed both the commercial and war fleets.
It is not clear the purpose though, in fact the prize money was exactly equal to the sum of the proceeds from the tickets. Let’s say they were beginner’s problems.
There were other oddities in this Elizabethan lottery, everyone who bought tickets could not only win a prize, but were automatically exonerated from all crimes that weren’t particularly violent.
The other odd thing was that Queen Elizabeth I herself was in charge of drawing the winning numbers. But she wasn’t on television.
The grand prize was £ 5000, but not all cash, some of it was carpets and plates. The cost of a ticket was 10 shillings which was really very expensive for most people.
The government subsequently continued to sell the rights to the lottery tickets to intermediaries, who then hired agents to sell them. These intermediaries or brokers eventually became the modern day stockbrokers.
If you are curious you can see a poster promoting this national lottery. You can also enlarge it and read it all if you are really interested. You can find it here on the British Library website.
An important archaeological discovery in Pompeii
After almost 2000 years a tomb of a freedman, Marcus Venerius, whose body rested semi embalmed was discovered this week.
To the east of the ancient city, at the necropolis of Porta Sarno, archaeologists found the intact burial of Marcus Venerius Secundio . A very special tomb, because at the time in the city the bodies were incinerated, while that of Marco Venerio is a tomb and his body is inside, lying in a corner, with the nape covered with white and semi-mummified hair. His body was kept inside a cell which allowed its preservation.
Marco Venerio, was over 60 when he died and was a freedman which means a former slave who had gained his freedom. He had been the guardian of the Temple of Venus, protector of the city of Pompeii, minister of the Augustals and then, after the liberation, Augustale, or member of a college of priests of the imperial cult. What is amazing of all this is the fact that a former slave could make enough money to buy himself a posh tomb. Two cinerary urns were found externally in the tomb enclosure, one belonging to a woman named Novia Amabilis, probably Marco Venerio’s wife. Specialists are also analysing what remains of the funeral tunic, which was made of asbestos, which may have contributed to the preservation of the body. Asbestos was often used for embalming
This new discovery is very important as it contains many details of life at the time while at the same time adding a few unanswered questions.
What is that spire outside Charing Cross station in London?
The cross was destroyed in the year 1647 by the Puritans during the English Civil War. After the construction of Charing Cross station in 1865, a reproduction of Eleanor Cross was created and placed outside the station and not in its original place in Trafalgar Square where the equestrian sculpture dedicated to Carlo.
The reproduction was created by the architect EM Barry himself who built the railway station. He used uncommon images available from the original. at the top, there are eight images of Eleonora, 4 as a queen, with imperial symbols and 4 represented as a Christian. Below are curved angels and shields with royal weapons and those of Ponthieu, Castile and Leon, all copied from still extant Eleanor Crosses who were at Waltham Cross and Northampton.
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