Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Kelly Olson

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Brown


Various sectors of Roman society ate differently. Wealthy men were virtually unrestrained in making food selections, choosing freely from all of the foods around the Mediterranean. The available array thus enabled the elite to meet and surpass the nutritional guidelines of today's World Health Organization to the extent that they may have even been subject to problems of overnutrition. The lower classes are typically assumed to have been malnourished. On the contrary, the abundance of cereals and legumes they consumed would have provided them with most essential nutrients. Lower classes would also have deliberately sought out meat and fish products associated with health and status. The greatest threat to the lower classes, periodic food shortage, would not have been detrimental to overall nutritional status, as studies show that episodic starvation may actually have the potential to increase lifespan. Bone studies support the scenario that Roman male nutrition was generally sound.



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