The ancient Roman gladiators have been a source of fascination for thousands of years. And as modern day archeologists and historians uncover more about their lives, our hunger to find out more about the Roman gladiator seems to increase.
So you want to know what gladiators ate? Research by Karl Grossschmidt, a paleo-pathologist at the Medical University of Vienna has managed to give an insite into this unglamopurside to the gladiators life!
They also managed to turn up some other surprising results. Compared to the average inhabitant of Ephesus, gladiators ate more plants and very little animal protein. The vegetarian diet had nothing to do with poverty or animal rights. Gladiators, it seems, were fat. Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates, such as barley, and legumes, like beans, was designed for survival in the arena. Packing in the carbs also packed on the pounds.
But a diet of barley and vegetables would have left the fighters with a serious calcium deficit. To keep their bones strong, historical accounts say, they downed vile brews of charred wood or bone ash, both of which are rich in calcium. Whatever the exact formula, the stuff worked. Grossschmidt says that the calcium levels in the gladiator bones were "exorbitant" compared to the general population. "Many athletes today have to take calcium supplements," he says. "They knew that then, too."
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Based on an article by Monika Kupper and Huw Jones for BBC Timewatch
Photo care of http://scienceblogs.com/afarensis/2007/05/03/manly_men_in_sandals_what_real/ and http://www.overoll.com/Content/Bite-marks-may-identify-UK-gladiator-graveyard-/2010/6/7/263350.news?from=gimage and http://www.hollywood.com/feature/Top_10_Posthumous_Performances/5277553
Based on an article by Andrew Curry