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What did gladiators of Ephesus eat?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Francesco Netti, Gladiator Fight During Meal At Pompeii
Francesco Netti, Gladiator Fight During Meal At Pompeii

Roman gladiators were largely vegetarians and drank a tonic to strengthen a drink made of plant ash after training. Such conclusions were reached by scientists from the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Bern, who conducted an anthropological study of skeletons in 2015 from the 2nd-3rd-century necropolis in Ephesus discovered in 1993.

Historical sources mentioned that gladiators had their own diet, which consisted of legumes and grains. Modern documents called fighting slaves “barley eaters” (hordearii).

Using spectroscopy, the Austrians and the Swiss performed an analysis of the solid isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur in bone collagen. They also determined the ratio of strontium to calcium in the bone mineral.


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