Reading Dr Giovanni Bonello's excellent contribution "Gambling in Malta under the Order" (The Sunday Times, August 28), I recollected a discussion among friends some years ago on gambling.

On humorous interventions we concluded that the Maltese used to gamble with the soldiers even when Malta formed part of the Roman Empire.

We believed the gambling saw a six-sided numbered small top being rotated. The person in charge would gather the stakes and then, according to the number resulting from this top, would announce the winning number and shout to the winner Accipe totum (take all!), two Latin words from which the Maltese word cippitatu originated.

Our findings, of course, were not based on any historical facts or logical arguments: still, we thought that se non è vera è ben trovata. (even if it's not true, it sounds good).

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