Roman historians sometimes called gladiators hordearii , which means "barley eaters" in Latin. The ash, which Romans typically added to food for a smoky flavor and even used for medicinal purposes, would have provided an extra heaping of strontium, Kanz said. Originally published on Live Science. And ancient texts by Roman scholars Pliny, Galen and Tacitus describe a special "gladiator diet" of barley and bell beans. Even so, the gladiators' diet probably wasn't all that different from the mostly vegetarian fare eaten by the Roman populace, Kanz said. Here, the skeleton of one of the gladiators unearthed in Ephesus, Turkey. A study has analayzed the skeletal remains of ancient gladiators and found that the Roman warriors drank an beverage filled with ash and vinegar. Because different plants and animals contain different ratios of these isotopes, their ratios in bones can reveal the long-term dietary patterns of ancient people. The team also analyzed the ratio of the elements strontium and calcium in the bones.
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