Glaiators Were Vegetarians
Tom Leonard, in the Daily Telegraph (March 2, 2004):
ROMAN gladiators were overweight vegetarians who lived on barley and beans, according to a scientific study of the largest gladiator graveyard discovered.
Analysis of the bones of more than 70 gladiators recently found near Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia Minor, puts paid to traditional Hollywood images of macho carnivores with the physique of boxers.
The dietary findings of the scientists from the University of Vienna are detailed in a forthcoming documentary on Channel Five. They may give vegetarians a new, harder image.
But the vegetarian stereotype is shattered by the finding that gladiators did not wear sandals but fought in bare feet.
The mass autopsy at the graveyard site on the western coast of Turkey has challenged assumptions that gladiator training was almost as brutal as the contests.
Ancient Roman mosaics depict gladiators as stocky, heavy men but historians have tended to assume this was a tribute to their macho image rather than a literal depiction of their size....
Karl Grossschmidt, a forensic anthropologist at Vienna University, used chemical testing on the bones to reveal that gladiators stuck to a diet of barley and beans to bulk out.
It was a boring diet, he admitted. "They got enough of this food every day to make them very fat and strong," he said. He concluded that they devised the diet primarily to protect themselves from slashing wounds and damage to nerves and blood vessels, with the layer of fat supplementing their scant armour. Dr Grossschmidt noticed from the bone analysis that, contrary to the normal effects of intensive training, the gladiators put on weight before a fight rather than lost it.
Bone samples were subjected to chemical analysis. While a normal meat and vegetable diet will show balanced levels of zinc and strontium, the gladiators' bones were very high in strontium and low in zinc - another indication of vegetarianism.
comments powered by Disqus
bobby chan - 8/12/2004
channl 5 where can i get a copy of that documentery ??
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Humans Hard-Wired to Teach, Anthropologist Says
- Parents outraged after students shown ‘white guilt’ cartoon for Black History Month
- Maryland is once again considering retiring its state song
- One of the last remaining Nazis goes on trial in Germany
- Historian at the center of Sanders-Clinton debate
- James Loewen Says Additional Baltimore Confederate Statues Should be Removed
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- A historian’s advice to students thinking of getting a PhD in a tough economic climate
- German historian Heinz Richter cleared of charges