Nine of Diamonds – Curse of Scotland

Nine of Diamonds

As for the alleged dark side of the Nine of Diamonds card, there are a number of explanations as to how it got its bad reputation. Some are more plausible than others, and there is no final certainty about the origin of this card myth. We offer you to read some really exciting stories related to the gambling world. And after it, you can enjoy playing da vinci diamonds in an online casino of your choice. 

History of the Curse of Scotland

Six different explanations are in circulation for the epithet Curse of Scotland of the Nine of Diamonds: Allegedly, Sir John Dalrymple wrote the order for the massacre of Glencoe on this playing card. The special role that the Nine of Diamonds had in old card games earned it the most sinister nickname for playing cards. Diamonds are a royal symbol; the nine of diamonds symbolizes the rule of tyrannical monarchs. The Scots had to pay a heavy tax after the theft of nine crown jewels. The card myth goes back to a linguistic misunderstanding. 

All these attempts at explanation are essentially based on conjecture and are not covered by historical sources. But they are entertaining and reveal much about British and Scottish history, which is why we now examine them in detail.

John Dalrymple and the Glencoe Massacre

Sir John Dalrymple, first Earl of Stair, purposefully pursued the incorporation of Scotland into the British state under English domination between 1691 and 1695 as minister in charge. Dalrymple became infamous for a massacre that took place on February 13, 1692. It involved one of the Scottish clans, the MacDonald of Glencoe. They were suspected of disloyalty to the English crown. A deterrent example was made against them. On the night of February 13, the English military attacked the clan and killed 38 of its members.

The fateful massacre was based on a written order of the Earl of Stair. However, it is only a legend that he used the Nine of Diamonds for this purpose. The written document has been preserved, but not on a playing card. Nevertheless, Dalrympl’s family crest has nine yellow diamonds, from which the card myth arose. The Earl had to resign as minister after the massacre because of public outrage over it. His name is stained with blood for Scottish patriots to this day.

The Duke of Cumberland and the Battle of Culloden

There is also a bloody story surrounding Prince William, Duke of Cumberland. It concerns the last battle on British soil to date, that of Culloden in Scotland in 1746, and is part of the history of the disputes over the British throne that became known as the Jacobite Rebellion, in which Scottish clans fought on the side of the ultimately defeated insurgents.

The final battle of the Jacobite rebellion earned Cumberland the nickname “Butcher.” He had instructed his troops not to take prisoners, with few exceptions. Cumberland felt justified in doing so because he considered the insurgents high traitors who were not entitled to proper treatment as prisoners of war. The battle thus became a merciless bloodbath in which terrible atrocities are said to have occurred. Again, it is said that the order for the slaughter was written on the playing card Nine of Diamonds. However, this cannot be true. The first written mention of the Curse of Scotland dates back to 1708, 38 years before the battle. Therefore, it cannot have been the reason for the map myth.

Nine of Diamonds and Its Meaning

The nine of diamonds plays a special role in the two old card games “Pope Joan” and “Commette.” Probably the most plausible explanation for why it became known as the Curse of Scotland can be found here. In the former game, which was popularly played in Scotland in the 19th century, she represented the Pope, who was not particularly popular in Scotland at the time, and was even considered the Antichrist by some Scots.

The predecessor of the game “Pope Joan,” “Commette,” was already played at the Scottish royal court in the 16th century. Nine of diamonds was the winning card. The card game ruined many Scottish nobles who played it for money. So it was natural to call the Nine of Diamonds the Curse of Scotland.

Diamonds as a Royal Symbol

The book “The British Apollo,” published in 1708, identifies diamonds as a royal symbol, based on the fact that the English name for diamonds is “diamonds.” These gems were royal jewelry, such as in the crown. It is claimed in the book that in the succession of Scottish kings, every ninth proved to be a tyrant, that is, a curse of Scotland. There is no historical evidence for this at all. Equally fictitious is the story of the theft of the crown jewels, which led to a heavy tax. Such a tax is nowhere attested. There is also no basis for the fairy tale that the Scottish kings could have afforded only nine diamonds in their crown, while all other monarchs wore ten on their heads.

Misinterpreted Cross

A 19th century English dictionary attempts to determine whether the term “curse of Scotland” might have to do with the similarity of the two English words “curse” and “cross.” The Scottish St. Andrew’s cross graphically resembles the diamond symbol with a lot of good will. At one time, the nine of diamonds might have been called the “cross of Scotland.” However, the dictionary concludes that this theory is untenable.

No Facts, Only Myths

As the foray into explanations for the Curse of Scotland shows, there was a great deal of invention involved in this card myth. In particular, the legend of the Nine of Diamonds as the bearer of murderous orders is ineradicable and can still be found in other versions. There is no reliable explanation whatsoever as to why the nine of diamonds, an otherwise unremarkable card with mostly little significance, should have played a fateful role for Scotland of all places. 

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