Grain in the Roman Diet

Dormouse. Public Domain, Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Dormice, ostrich meat and fresh fish: the surprising foods eaten in ancient Rome says

“Herculaneum there is evidence of the consumption of both foxtail and broomcorn millet, and the different quantities of wheat and millet finds indicate that while wheat was often turned into bread, other cereals (including emmer wheat) were eaten as a porridge or stew. The Romans also ate lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas. The Murecine tablets [a collection of wooden writing tablets, found in a villa just outside Pompeii in an area now called the ‘Agro Murecine’], also buried during the eruption of Vesuvius, record that many of these pulses were imported from Egypt.”

As to the dormice, the article says the Romans occasionally ate such a rodent, but it wasn’t the same as today’s:

“Finally, while the Romans really did eat dormice (although how often is debated), dormice are not the same species as the small white mice that get into your house and scurry across the floor today!”


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