THE INVENTION OF BACKGAMMON
The inventor of backgammon "arranged it according to the example of the world, to which he compared for it; for he divided the board into TWELVE HOUSES, according to the number of months in the year; and the men are THIRTY PIECES, according to the number of days in the month; the DICE correspond to the revolving spheres, and their THROWS to the motions and circulation of the latter; the POINTS upon them answer to the number of the planets, since their positions always constitute the number seven, the one being opposite the six, the two opposed to the five, the three to the four. And he established the CASTS, which one obtains in playing, after the example of divine predetermination and decree, which are sometimes in his favor, sometimes against him; he himself moves his men according to the throws, so that, if he has quick intelligence, he is able to arrange matters as to get the victory, and overcome his adversary, under the conditions which the dice have determined."
---Thomas Hyde, De Ludis Orientalibus, 1684
Samuel Johnson (1709-84)