According to this study, the same Roman gladiators who fought each other and fought lions and tigers at the Colosseum and Roman amphitheaters ate a mostly vegetarian diet according to anthropological findings carried out on the bones of warriors found during an excavation in the ancient Roman city of Ephesos (now modern-day Turkey). The study was conducted by the Department of Forensic Medicine at the MedUni Vienna and the Department of Anthropology at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern. Bones were examined from a gladiator cemetery uncovered in 1993, which dates back to the 2nd and 3rd century BC in Ephesos. Ephesos was the capital of the Roman province Asia with a population of 200,000 people. The researchers used spectroscopy to study stable isotope ratios such as carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. They also studied the ratio of strontium to calcium in the bones.
Hordearii, a.k.a Barley Eaters
The study has shown that the diet of gladiators was mostly vegetarian. Their diet comprised of grains and beans. They were referred to as hordearii, or barley eaters. Meals were primarily grains and meat-free meals. Consuming these carbohydrates were suitable for survival when fighting in the arena. It also helped the gladiators undergo the long and intense training they do to prepare for a fight in the arena. Their vegetarian diet was called gladiatorium saginam. It would be safe to say that Russell Crowe’s character Maximus and his opponent from Gladiator might have both been on a vegetarian diet.
What This Means For Masculinity and Athletes
This study would challenge what we believe about meat, masculinity, and athletes. We would think that eating meat would make us a man. Also, we have the belief that meat would give athletes an edge, especially that meat would have a lot more protein than plant-based foods. Even The Ultimate Fighter winner and elite Special Forces trainer James Wilks was surprised as he was researching the same study in the movie The Game Changers. Back then, he was not vegan and he was recovering from an injury. He was trying to find ways to recover fast from his injury and came across this mind-blowing study. This study on Roman gladiators, along with meeting several world class athletes from Olympic cyclist Dotsie Bausch to ultramarathoner Scott Jurek to a strongman like Patrick Baboumian, has challenged what James has believed growing up on eating meat for protein and to be a man. As a result, James was motivated to become a vegan. He was amazed that the Roman gladiators and these world-class athletes are on a vegan diet and do not eat meat, which challenges our belief that athletes need meat for protein and men need meat to be big and strong. Furthermore, they studied the erections of three male athletes and it turned out that when the male athletes ate plant-based meals, they had more erections and bigger ones than when they ate animal foods. It turns out that meat and animal foods are not really the types of foods athletes need for protein and men need to be stereotypically masculine.
Vegan Diet Makes You A Real Man
If the Roman gladiators were able to thrive on a plant-based diet, then it shows a vegan diet truly makes you a real man. The more present evidence is shown through vegan strongman Patrick Baboumian, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, UFC fighter Nate Diaz, and Ultimate Fighter winner James Wilks. Personally, I myself have experienced faster recovery times between intense workouts. I also noticed I have more energy than when I ate animal foods. I would do a long run, long swim, or lift heavy weights and still have enough energy to do chores or do more physical activity or go out with friends. I also noticed I have been doing more long runs and long swims. Specifically, I can do a 100-yard butterfly stroke in at least three consecutive days. When I went on a vegan diet, I feel more confident and outgoing in social situations. This has shown that a vegan diet makes you a real man. It is sad that a lot of males are gullible to the protein myth, the fact that we need whey protein powders and supplements to be big and muscular, and the myth that eating meat makes you a man. So far, I have proven those myths wrong on a vegan diet.