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Soda sales are down, so Coca-Cola paid a nonprofit to blame obesity on lack of exercise, not diet. The Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank ashes as a healing tonic following training sessions.
Looking back through history, the list of those who chose a vegetarian diet offers the occasional rude surprise: Mahatma Gandhi, Henry Ford, Michael Clark Duncan, Mark Twain, and Adolf Hitler. Roman gladiators had a much different diet from most modern athletes, eating a mostly vegetarian diet and drinking a tonic made with ashes, according to anthropological investigations published in Plos One. The study revealed that Roman gladiators ate grains and beans, and that the ash drink quoted in literature probably really did exist, Science Daily reported. Now, a new forensic medicine study finds the ancient Roman gladiators might be added to this unusual register.
Two clues support the assumption that the cemetery contains the remains of ancient gladiators.


While some contestants had swords (gladium) and fought in the arena without prior special training — certain death in nearly all cases — others, including common citizens, senators, and noblemen, volunteered after first completing appropriate training at special gladiator schools. After examining the bones, the researchers discovered the gladiators mostly ate a vegetarian diet. Stable Isotope and trace element studies on gladiators and contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd ct.
It found differences between gladiators and those in the general population in the amount strontium measured in their bones.
After conducting anthropological investigations in the ancient city of Ephesus, researchers believe the Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank ashes as a healing tonic following training sessions.
Artefacts, including graffiti, suggest gladiator fights took place in Ephesus since 69 BC, when the city had over 200,000 inhabitants. Because of this, anthropologists believe gladiators consisted of men from almost every social class of Roman society.


While their staple foods most likely included wheat and barley, the gladiators probably ate a grain of inferior quality in most cases. Previous studies conducted on the remains from the Ephesus cemetery indicate the gladiators followed a strict set of rules, never letting a fight descend into mere mutilation. However, the researchers highlighted a significant difference between gladiators and the normal population. Even more, examinations of trauma patterns suggest when a gladiator was close to death, he would be put out of his misery by a swift hammer blow delivered to the head.
The amount of strontium measured in their bones suggests an ash drink quoted in ancient literature may have indeed been part of the gladiators’ diets.



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