Gladiators’ diet. What did ancient wrestlers eat and drink?

We know gladiators from history textbooks and many movies and series about antiquity. Strong, well-built men with impressive muscles fought extreme battles to the death in ancient arenas. Their lives depended on physical condition and endurance, so we believe they must have eaten a lot of protein-rich meat. It turns out, however, that the gladiators were on a diet.

1. What did the strongest men in antiquity eat?

Examination of gladiators’ bones buried in a cemetery in Ephesus (Turkey) revealed surprising facts. Contrary to popular belief, gladiators did not draw energy at all to fight other warriors and wild animals from meat. Their consisted of vegetables, grains and legumes. They ate most often. Gladiators were slaves, therefore they were given inferior quality products. Researchers found that not only gladiators were on a diet. Other, more affluent citizens of ancient cities also ate mainly plants.

The results of the research may come as a surprise because modern athletes’ are full of protein-rich foods. Of course, cyclists and skiers different products than boxers and weight lifters. However, animal protein is considered to be the best building block for muscles. Examination of the remains of gladiators shows that we may be mistaken in believing that strength comes from meat.

2. Ancient isotonic drink

Scientists from Vienna and Bern made another interesting discovery during anthropological research in Ephesus. They analyzed the composition of the gladiatorial bones in which they found large amounts of strontium and calcium. This is what set them apart from the rest of the population, which confirmed the supposition that the ancient warriors used a product rich in minerals.

It was a drink made of and plant ash. The unusual potion was used by gladiators to strengthen the body after hard fights. It was believed that this specificity accelerates bone healing after difficult battles in the arena. In this respect, modern athletes and people training for their own pleasure are similar to gladiators. After heavy exercise, we often reach for supplements with calcium and and isotonic drinks that replenish the deficiencies of micronutrients.

The gladiators’ of and grains surprises modern people who are used to eating large amounts of meat and taking supplements. It turns out that the provided the body with enough energy, even for a bloody and exhausting fight to life and death.