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Casinum—Casket Letters

builder loses control of the build unless he also holds a 9 in his hand or can himself increase the build again; for instance, adding an ace and calling 10. In the old way of playing the ace counted 1, the deuce 2, and so on as at whist, excepting that all court cards counted 10. But in the popular variation called Royal Casino, now almost universally played, the ace counts either 1 or 14, the king 13, the queen 12 and the knave 11. In this manner the opportunities for simple and increased building are greatly multiplied, resulting in a much livelier game.

If a player has made a build he must take it in on his next play, unless he can take some other card. He cannot have two builds on the table at the same time, nor increase another build if he already has one of his own. Double Builds cannot be increased, e.g. if a player combines a 3 and 4 lying on the table and places a 7 from his hand upon them, saying, "I build sevens," this build can be taken only with a 7, and cannot be built upon further. Of course in the case cited the builder must still have another 7 in his hand. In playing partners each may take in the other's builds, or may build to a card that has been declared by his partner; e.g. if his partner has built an 8 that has been captured by an opponent, he may build another 8 with a card from his own hand to the 8 that he knows to be in his partner's hand, even though he has no 8 himself. In trailing, i.e. laying down a card without matching or building, one usually plays small cards, avoiding aces and (if Big and Little Casino have not yet been played) tens and deuces, as well as any cards one has reason to think will be of service to the enemy. High cards are usually played last, as they are stronger in taking combinations. Such rules are, however, quite general, each situation calling for special treatment. In the last round all cards remaining on the table become the property of the player taking the last trick. A good memory and keen powers of observation are essential in playing this game.

In Twenty-One-Point Casino nothing is scored until the end of the deal. A second or third deal is usually necessary before one side scores the requisite 21. In the final deal each side keeps a mental count of the points made, and as soon as 21 are scored the game is claimed and the points shown. But if, when added to those already scored in previous deals, they make more or less than 21, the claimant loses the game. In counting out cards count first, followed by spades, Big Casino, Little Casino, aces and sweeps, in that order.

Spade Casino is a variation in which the usual 11 points count as in the regular game, and, in addition, each spade counts 1, excepting the knave of spades, which counts 2, making 24 points in all. These are scored on a cribbage-board, each point being marked as it is made. The game is for 61 points, or once round the board and into the game-hole.


CASINUM, an ancient town of Italy, probably of Volscian origin. Varro states that the name was Sabine, and meant forum velus, and also that the town itself was Samnite, but he is probably wrong. When it came under Roman supremacy is not known, but it probably received the citizenship in 188 B.C. It was the most south-easterly town in Latium adjectum, situated on the Via Latina about 40 m. N .W. of Capua. It appears occasionally in the history of the Hannibalic War. Varro possessed a villa near it, in which later on Mark Antony held his orgies. Towards the end of the republic it was a praefectura, and under the empire it appears as a colony (perhaps founded by the triumvirs), though in two (not local) inscriptions it is called municipium. Strabo speaks of it as an important town; Varro mentions the olive-oil of its district as especially good. The older Volscian Casinum must have stood on the hill (1715 ft.) above the Roman town (148 ft.), where considerable remains of fortifications in Cyclopean masonry, of finely cut blocks of limestone, still exist. The site is now occupied by the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino (q.v.) founded by St Benedict himself in 529. A number of Roman inscriptions from Casinum are preserved there. The wall which runs south-west and west starting from the west side of the monastery, for a total length of about 300 yds., is not so clearly traceable on the other side of the hill, though there is one fragment under the east side of the monastery; but it seems to have defended the summit and was perhaps the original acropolis. The Roman town lay at the foot of the mountain, close to the Via Latina. The amphitheatre, erected by Ummidia Quadratilla (whose passion for actors is mentioned by Pliny, Epist. vii. 24, on the occasion of her death at the age of about eighty), is still existing: it is built of opus reticulatum and the five entrances are by arches of larger blocks of stone; it is approximately circular in plan. The external walls are 59 ft. high. The seats in the interior have disappeared. Above it on the hillside is a theatre of opus reticulatum, less well preserved. Close by is a building converted into the Cappella del Crocefisso, originally perhaps a tomb in the Via Latina; it is a chamber in the form of a Greek cross, constructed of large masses of travertine, with a domed roof of the same material. On the opposite bank of the Rapido are the ruins called Monticelli, attributed to the villa of Varro, a part of which was frequently drawn by the architects of the 16th century (T. Ashby in Papers of the British School at Rome, ii. 19). The medieval town of S. Germano, which resumed the name Cassino in 1871, lies a little to the north. The cathedral was founded in the 8th century, but the present building was constructed in the 17th century. The church of S. Maria delle Cinque Terri contains twelve ancient marble columns; above the town is a picturesque medieval castle. (T. As.)


CASIRI, MIGUEL (1710–1791), a learned Maronite, was born at Tripoli (Syria) in 1710. He studied at Rome, where he lectured on Arabic, Syriac, Chaldee, philosophy and theology. In 1748 he went to Spain, and was employed in the royal library at Madrid. He was successively appointed a member of the Royal Academy of History, interpreter of oriental languages to the king, and joint-librarian at the Escorial. In 1763 he became principal librarian, a post which he appears to have held till his death in 1791. Casiri published a work entitled Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana Escurialensis (2 vols., Madrid, 1760-1770). It is a catalogue of above 1800 Arabic MSS., which he found in the library of the Escorial; it also contains a number of quotations from Arabic works on history. The MSS. are classified according to subjectsythe second volume gives an account of a large collection of geographical and historical MSS., which contain valuable information regarding the wars between the Moors and the Christians in Spain. Casiri's work is not yet obsolete, but a more scientific system is adopted in Hartwig Derenbourg's incomplete treatise, Les Manuscrits arabes de l'Escorial (Paris, 1884).


CASKET, a small box or coffer, commonly used for jewels, money, papers, or other objects of value. The etymology is doubtful. It is possibly a diminutive of "Cask," a barrel for wine or other liquor. The Spanish casco meant also a skull, helmet, or rind of an onion, and is probably connected with cascar, to break open, Latin quassare, French casser, to break, shake. The French casque, casquel, of the same origin is only used of a helmet, and the sense of "small chest" is not found in languages other than English. Skeat suggests that the word is a corruption of French cassette, diminutive of casse, box, Latin capsa, from capere, to hold, contain, cf. English "case". History and literature are full of references to the often disconcerting contents of these famous receptacles. The "Casket Letters" (q.v.) are one of the mysteries of history. Harpagnon's casket plays an important part in Moliere's L'Avare; Bluebeard gives his too-curious wife the keys of his caskets filled with precious stones; the contents of Sainte-Croix's casket brought about the trial and condemnation of the marquise de Brinvilliers, the poisoner. This very ancient piece of furniture was no doubt derived from the chest, which was the original wardrobe. It was often an object of great value, covered with ivory, enamel, or stamped leather, enriched with precious metals, or encrusted with jewels. One which belonged to St Louis and is preserved in the Louvre is covered with enamelled shields of arms and other decorations. In the 16th and 17th centuries secret hiding-places were sometimes in the thickness of the lid or in a false bottom. The word is now little used—the natural result of the desuetude of the object; but auctioneers occasionally announce that they will sell a "casket of jewels," and undertakers, especially in the United States, frequently use it as a grandiose synonym for "coffin."


CASKET LETTERS. This is the name generally given to eight letters, and a sequence of irregular sonnets, all described as originally in French, and said to have been addressed by Mary, queen of Scots, to the earl of Bothwell, between January and April 1566–1567. The nature of these documents—authentic, forged, or partly forged, partly genuine—has been the theme of much discussion. If authentic throughout, they afford perfect proof of Mary's complicity in the murder of her husband, Henry, Lord Darnley. The topic is so perplexing, and possibilities