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When was billiards first played?

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The origins of billiards are lost with the passing of time, although early records by Greek traveller Anacharsis indicate that a very preliminary version was played by Egyptians as early as 400 BC, which was then adopted by the Greeks.

The word “billiard” is derived from French, where the word “billart” means stick, and the word “bille” means ball.  In the 15th century, the earliest record of how the game was made was recorded.  It started as an indoor version of croquet, which could explain why the pool table felt is traditionally green (to represent the grass from outside).  The first billiards table was found among the items belonging to King Louis XI.  The Shakespeare play “Anthony and Cleopatra” makes use of the word “billiard”, suggesting that the term was well-known to people living in the Elizabethan age.

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  • Ben Grant
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