Top 10 Ancient Roman Foods and Drinks!

Ancient Rome was one of the greatest kingdoms in the Mediterranean time. Of course, most ancient Rome’s food habits were more popular than the everyday foods grown in the Mediterranean region. Usually, the meal was done three times in that time, Jetaculum for their breakfast, a Prandium lunch, and Cena was their evening meal. Food and drink given to the main course depend on the Roman type. Rich Roman food is usually excellent and famous compared to the peasants’s food in Rome. The Romans were happy to have the best and lavish cafeteria, and ancient Roman food had a specific cooking set. So, here is a list of food and drink items consumed in Ancient Rome.

10. Barley

Scientific name:Hordeum vulgare
Energy:515 kJ (123 kcal)/ 100 g
Carbohydrates:28.2 g/ 100g
Fats:0.4 g/100g
Top Barley Producer:European Union as 63 million metric tons

Barley is an important meal in ancient Greece as many athletes consumed it at that time. It is prevalent among Roman gladiators known as “Hordwarii.” It was an integral crop in the training diet of Roman people. Barley has a wide range of carbohydrates that help you gain weight and maintain a good physique. The Romans did not spend time enjoying all these benefits, but it was the most popular grain in the republican era. 


9. Olive Oil

Scientific name:Olea europaea L.
Total saturated:Palmitic acid: 13.0% and Stearic acid: 1.5%
Unsaturated fats:Total unsaturated > 85%
Energy:3,700 kJ / 100 g
The top five olive oil producers by volume:Spain, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, and Italy

When the Roman emperor began to support olive wood cultivation and olive oil production, olive oil became more popular among the Romans. Olive tree leaves and branches are symbolic in ancient Rome because they are symbolizing peaceful fruits and prosperity. Therefore, the Romans have a variety of olive oils. However, olive oil is not only used as food. Of course, it is part of everyday life because the Romans do not have soap. They use it to cleanse their body and in lamps too.

Olive Oil

8. Posca

Scientific name:Posca
Species:A mixer of vinegar, water, and perhaps herbs
Recipe Includes:Cumin, fennel seed, celery seed, anise, thyme, and salt
Top Barley Producer:Ancient Roman

POSCA is a popular drink among ancient Roman soldiers, often made of low-quality wine and spices. There are many armies in the Romaine Corps. The soldiers used to add water to vinegar and make it a popular posca drink. The Posco’s acidity has killed too many germs and protects it from early stagnation. However, it is not considered a discipline to drink wine on duty, so high officer generals prefer posca to show their troops’ dedication.

7. Fruit (Carob)

Scientific name:Ceratonia siliqua
Species:C. siliqua
Calories:222 / 100 g
Energy:929 kj/ 100g
Top Producer:Spain

Fruits formed a large part of the daily diet in ancient Rome. Ripe, figs, grapes, pears, plums, dates, cherries, and shiny peach-like fruits are easy to use in the Mediterranean region. Mostly they kept dry for maintenance. Grapes and cherries are widely used for making wines. The most popular fruits of all the Romans are named Carob. The Romans learned many applications in Carob’s cooking works as their most common ancient roman food.


6. Vegetables (Asparagus)

Scientific name:Asparagus Officinalis
Energy:85 kJ / 100 g
Carbohydrates:4 g / 100g
Species:A. Officinalis
Top Producer:China

Unlike Rich Romans, famous farmers ruled over vegetables compared to other food sources. Vegetable Maregum is a leguminous plant consisting of three major parts as Beans, Peas, and lentils. They often consumed it along with bread and made it as a regular meal. Asparagus, artichoke, cabbage, beets, sage brushes, onions often are used as an appetizer or starting a blooming night. As a fruit, Romans store vegetables in brine, vinegar, or in the form of pickles.


5. Sauces and Spices

Most used Spices:Pine kernels, leeks, celery seeds, safflower, coriander, dates
Most used Sauces:Garum — a salty sauce

The ancient Romans enjoyed abundant sauces and spices by eating them along with their meal. Food in poor Romans was bland and contained staples such as wheat, barley, and vegetables. In this way, some sauces and spices helped them to excite their taste bud. Roman dining habits are much more than having a variety of sauces. Various spices have been used, such as pine, kernels, leeks, parsley, celery seeds, capons, safflower, coriander, dates, dried mint, honey, vinegar, and broth, to season their food.

4. Bread(white)

Type:Staple food
Variety:Brown, Sprouted, Ruisreikaleipa
Carbohydrates:49g /100g
Fats:3.2g /100g
Top Producer:US

The bread was the primary diet of Roman times. The Romans began to make toast bread in the first 300 BC, and soon afterward, wheat and other flour were served as a paste. The use of bread gained over popularity in 168 BC. Over 150 years, more than 300 specialist chefs are added in Rome to make bread more effectively, like in legumes, milk, eggs, and butter. Although nutritious and delicious bread was much lovable in Rome, it is often consumed by wealthy Romans more often. 


3. Meat and Fish

Type of fish:fresh, dried, salted, smoked, or pickled
Carbohydrates in fish:0
Fats in fish:2g /100 g
Type of Meat:Poultry and Wild

The meat was a worthy commodity in ancient Rome (at least the poor Romans), so they purchased it in a small amount, especially during the holidays and festivals. Wealthy Romans mostly consumed the meat in their grand parties. 

The primary sources of meat are rabbits, hare, and wild boars. The Romans also liked fish, especially those found in the Mediterranean. 

Meat and Fish

2. Wine

Energy:Black, red, white, and yellow Vintage wines are Caecuban, Setian, Falernian, and Massic
Made of:Fragmented Grapes
Alcohol %:5.5–20.5 %
Top producer of Wine:Italy

The wine was such a standard drink in ancient Romans that it could be named their national drink. They scorn beer since it was a popular drink among the barbarians. So naturally, the wine was the only preferred option. The Romans constantly dilute their wine with water as drinking it straight was not in their tradition. There was an ever-increasing need for wine in Rome which provided rise to widespread wine creation, especially in Italy. 


1. Wheat

Scientific name:Triticum
Protein:13%/ 100 g
Carbohydrates:71% / 100 g
Fats:1.5%/ 100 g
Top Producer:China, India

The main Roman food product mostly consumed in ancient Rome is Wheat and considered the most vital ingredient in their daily meals. On the other hand, wheat flour was used to bend the best bread. It was also used to prepare the cakes and Porridge. All three primary meals had at least one food item, which was made of wheat. Wheat pancakes with dates or honey were regular for breakfast, wheat loaves of bread and cheese were generally consumed in lunch, and wheat porridge was almost always on their dinner menu.



The early Romans are not the leading eaters, but their eating habits have been discovered when the empire has been stable and expanded. Most Romans satisfied their cravings from the barley and wheat. As soon as the empire extended, most people could easily access food with ease. The Romans were able to make bread as they learned from Greeks and Egypt, but in the Roman era, bread production had created tremendous hype in the baking industry by increasing the production and their love for bread. 

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