The game of Jacks was played by the ancients but it was then known as “jackstones” (stones being used) or “knucklebones” (sheep knucklebones being used). It was in great vogue among Greeks and Romans, being played by all ages (especially as a menÌ¥s gambling game).
Most often six “jacks” were used (adults using up to twelve) with one being used to toss up into the air while picking up the others. The use of a separate stone or clay marble used only for tossing came later in history. Using a rubber ball and allowing it to bounce as you “picked up” is a relatively recent development.