Skip to comments.What Did Gladiators Eat?
Posted on 01/22/2019 11:03:08 PM PST by SunkenCiv
"For abdominal cramp or bruises," states Marcus Varro, and I quote his very words, "your hearth should be your medicine chest. Drink lye made from its ashes, and you will be cured. One can see how gladiators after a combat are helped by drinking this." -- Pliny, Natural History XXXVI.203
The Roman gladiator calls to mind a fierce fighter who, armed with an assortment of weapons, battled other gladiators -- and even wild animals. What did gladiators eat? Roman author Pliny the Elder reported that gladiators went by the nickname "hordearii" ("barley-eaters") and drank a tonic of ashes after combat (Pliny, NH XVIII.72, XXXVI.203). A study recently published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE confirmed that gladiators really did eat mostly plants -- especially barley and wheat -- and may have indeed consumed ashes...
Researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern and the Medical University of Vienna aimed to investigate how the diet of gladiators compared to the rest of the population. Using spectroscopy to conduct isotopic analysis on the bone remains from a second-third-century C.E. gladiator cemetery in Roman Ephesus in Turkey, the researchers were able to confirm that the individuals buried in the cemetery consumed a mostly plant-based diet -- as did the rest of the population in Ephesus...
"Plant ashes were evidently consumed to fortify the body after physical exertion and to promote better bone healing," study leader Fabian Kanz explained to ScienceDaily. "Things were similar then to what we do today -- we take magnesium and calcium (in the form of effervescent tablets, for example) following physical exertion."
(Excerpt) Read more at biblicalarchaeology.org ...
Detail of a third-fourth-century C.E. mosaic depicting gladiatorial combat, now on display in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. Photo: Licensed under public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Tombstone excavated in the gladiator cemetery at Ephesus. Photo: © 2014 Lösch et al. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110489.g002.
You know I never gave it that much thought.
Whole Food Plant Based.
Gladiators were proto-Vegans. Who knew?
You want ribs or a leg?
How about “carry-out”??
What do you call a smiling Roman soldier with a piece of hair stuck between his front teeth?
Hey they weren’t Aztecs or anything.
Just a heaping plate of pearled barley with an ash chaser.
Uh-oh, I dunno. I'll probably regret this...
This seems kinda weird; VEGAN gladiators? HUNH?
Anything he wants! :^)
A diet of cereals makes sense, since gladiators were slaves, and slaves were generally fed cereals. I'd never given it any thought, either. :^) "Caesar! Who made the salad?" "Me, and Seven Seas!"
Ancient Romans of higher classes ate meat...the flesh of fowls, fish, and animals; though not as much of the latter! I've seen ancient cookery recipes, from ancient Roman times and they ate things like dormice, various cuts of pork, and chicken, with unsparing amounts of ghastly garum, which is a stinking ( as it smelled to high heaven )fermented fish sauce, made from fish innards, heads, tails, and stuff like that.
There were food stalls, which were kind of like today’s “carry-out”. There are remains of these, with food still embedded in the lava,in Pompeii.
If you have a time machine avoid eating the pork served near the coliseum after The Games have been going for a while. No reason.
But seriously, way back when, we all learned about who ate what, in Ancient Rome, in first year Latin class...which I still remember. And Apius, or some such Ancient Roman wrote a cooking book, which we all had to read in Latin and translate. I guess that's why I remember it so well. :-)
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