Pergamon, who lived 2,000 years ago and followed a vegetarian diet, revealed a study of 300 skeletons discovered in this ancient city. Importantly, the lack of meat in their diets was not related to the ethical aspects.
The team led by Prof. Wolf Rüdiger Teegen examined a total of 300 skeletons (Image: Getty Images)
Pergamum is an ancient Greek city. Founded in the 7th century BC, it was part of a land called Myzja in Asia Minor. In 205 BC, the city formed an alliance with Rome, and in 133 BC it officially became part of the Roman Empire. It passed from hand to hand and resisted the attacks of many invaders, and lasted until the twelfth century AD
Currently Pergamum lies within the borders of present-day Turkey And it is located near a town with a somewhat similar name – Bergama. The ancient city is the site of the most important archaeological excavations and, together with the Acropolis below, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2014.
Currently, at the post in Pergamon, there is, among other things, a team of German and Turkish scientists working under the direction of Prof. Wolf Rüdiger Teegen, specialist in archeology and antiquities. As part of the new study, the team analyzed the remains of city dwellers that had been discovered earlier. While the researchers were mainly looking for injuries and traces of ancient diseases, they also found what the Pergamon ate.
The ancients were vegetarians, but not by choice
Researchers studied a total of 300 skeletons from two tombs in the Pergamum region. Studying their fossil teeth helped reveal the composition of the diet of the ancients.
– Examine the teeth for rubble We discovered that among the ancients, a diet rich in carbohydrates and plants was common, Like bread and porridge – says the professor. Tejen.
And the scientist explained in an interview with a Turkish news agency, that the discovery does not mean that all the inhabitants of Pergamon were vegetarians. What’s more – claims prof. Teegen – In light of the available historical data, we must conclude that A vegetarian diet was associated with a lower social status.
It is possible that a certain percentage of the population has eaten meat regularly. But the number of people who ate a lot of meat was low, and meat consumption varied according to their social status. Those who have money can eat meat or fish more often – He explains.
In ancient Pergamon, meat was not so common as it was expensive. Records from the era of the Roman Empire reveal that the most expensive meat was rabbit, and pork was more expensive than beef. However, even the cheapest meat can be expensive for the poor.
They lived for a short time, they died mainly before the age of forty.
A Turkish-German study also revealed that the people of Pergamon could not enjoy a long life. Most of the deceased whose remains were examined were between 20 and 40 years old at the time of death. There were very few people who died over the age of forty.
Interestingly, It was found that the average age of death for women is lower than that of men. (The median is the middle value, above and below there are an equal number of observations.) Teigen believed that factors related to pregnancy and childbirth were responsible for this condition, which must have contributed significantly to the decline in women’s health at the time.
Because the scientists examined only the bones, injuries were among the causes of death they could identify with a high degree of certainty. Most diseases, potentially fatal to ancient bergamot, such as viral and bacterial ones, leave no trace on the skeleton.
But by comparing the data collected with historical records, the professor. Teigen stated that the most common health problems among the population are sinus and dental diseases. These diseases were also a major problem in childhood and adolescence for these people. We observe problems such as tartar and tooth loss to this day. In contrast, problems with bays may have resulted in part from the use of open fires, which were then used for heating. The scientist says it was not good for health.
Several skeletons also showed signs of arthritis and chronic inflammation.
Source: Anadolu Agency.