The Diet of Roman Gladiators May Surprise You

The Diet of Roman Gladiators May Surprise You
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The Diet of Roman Gladiators May Surprise You

Read on to learn what researchers believe Roman gladiators ate.

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Recently, anthropologists discovered a gladiator graveyard in Ephesus, Turkey, which was once the capital of the Roman province of Asia. The scientists were able to use spectroscopy to analyze the carbon, sulfur and nitrogen levels in the bones of the gladiators.

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While most modern athletes rely on a diet high in protein, it seems that the gladiators relied on a vegetarian diet of grains and beans.

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The researchers also found that the gladiators would make their own type of "sports drink," a vinegar and plant ash beverage to give them energy.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"Plant ashes were evidently consumed to fortify the body after physical exertion and to promote better bone healing," the study leader Professor Fabian Kanz explained. "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."

Image Credit: Getty Images

Ancient texts have referred to gladiators as "hordearii" or "barley eaters."


Recently researchers published a study in Plos One explaining how they were able to uncover the diet of ancient gladiators based on analysis of their bones. While vegetarians on record throughout history have been sparse, now you can add gladiators to the list as well. The study reveals that gladiators had a surprisingly meat-free diet, and they heavily consumed grains with an ancient form of a sports drink.

Check out the slideshow above to learn about the diet of Roman gladiators.

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