Friday, January 3, 2014


WEALTHY Romans dined on flamingos, peacocks, exotic spices from the Orient and giraffe meat, according to a new study, which also shows that the poor subsisted on ... bird seed.

Ancient Romans are known for eating well, with mosaics from the empire portraying sumptuous displays of fruits, vegetables, cakes — and, of course, wine.

But the 98 percent of Romans who were non-elite and whose feasts weren't preserved in art may have been stuck eating millet 
— used today for birdseed you buy in pet shops.

Scientists from the University of Cincinnati in the US studied ancient garbage and waste products in a 10-block section of Pompeii which included 20 shops and food vendors.

The experts found a wide variety of processed grains and even the bones of such exotic creatures as giraffes ... the only known proof that giraffes were kept on the Italian peninsula in ancient times.

The findings showed a vast disparity between the food eaten by the wealthy and the diet of poor people.

Common people in ancient Rome ate millet, a grain looked down upon by the wealthy as fit only for livestock, according to a new study published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

And consumption of millet may have been linked to overall social status, with relatively poorer suburbanites eating more of the grain than did wealthier city dwellers.

Those results come from an analysis of anonymous skeletons in the ancient city's cemeteries.

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