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The Lottery in Ancient Greece

Ancient classical literature makes references to lottery games played in Greece. These games were simple drawings like the ones we organize for parties and events today.

The Lottery in the Iliad
Homer’s Illiad is a poem about the Trojan War, between the Greeks and the Trojans. Agamemnon was the commander in chief of the Greeks.  Hector was the greatest warrior on the Trojan’s side.  At one point in the story, a lottery was held using Agamemnon’s helmet to see who would get to kill Hector.

The Fates
The Fates were ancient Greek goddesses. As the name suggests, they determined the fate of every individual.  The way they did this was by using a lottery to distribute the good and the bad of the world to mortals soon to be born.  Everyone would be born with both good luck and bad luck.
Here’s the twist. In a regular lottery, allotments happen by chance. In Greek mythology, the Fates only drew lots that were in alignment with the greater picture of Zeus’s plan.
As you can see, lottery games date all the way back to classical civilization, making it a timeless part of our history.


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