previous next

The Daily Diet

All indications are that the Greek diet remained much the same over time; after the Peloponnesian War people perhaps had less than before, at least until a modicum of prosperity was restored. Athenians usually had only two meals a day, a light lunch in mid-morning and a heavier meal in the evening1. Bread baked from barley or, for richer people, wheat, constituted the main part of the diet. A family could buy its bread2 from small bakery stands, often run by women, or make it at home, with the wife directing and helping the household slaves to grind the grain3, shape the dough, and bake in it in a pottery oven heated by charcoal. Those few households wealthy enough to afford meat4 from time to time often grilled it over coals on a pottery brazier shaped much like modern picnic grills. For most people, vegetables, olives, fruit5, and cheese represented the main variety in their diet, and meat was available only as part of animal sacrifices6 paid for by the state. The wine7 that everyone drank, usually much diluted with water, came mainly from local vineyards. Water8 from public fountains had to be carried into the house with jugs, a task that the women of the household had to perform themselves or see that the household slaves did.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: