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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > December 2019 > It happened one Chr istmas

It happened one Chr istmas

From Puritans to eggnog rioters, by way of royal gluttons, history is peppered with curious festive events of culinary interest. Les Dunn takes a food lover’s tour through time

404AD A very happy new year for the veggie gladiators

You may imagine the Roman gladiators existed on a diet of raw ox meat, but analysis of bones from a gladiators’ cemetery showed they mostly ate grains (they were known as ‘the barley men’) as well as a restorative tonic made from plant ash. Very hipster.

The chance of a gladiator being killed in a single contest in Rome’s Colosseum was one in nine, so it was probably a great relief to them when the practice came to an end, reputedly on New Year’s Day 404AD.

The mysterious monk Telemachus caused the demise of the bloody life-or-death battles when he tried to stop a gladiatorial contest and, for his efforts, was stoned to death by the crowd. The Christian emperor Honorius was so inspired by Telemachus’s martyrdom, he immediately banned the contests.

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About delicious. Magazine

The December issue of delicious. contains everything you need to make this Christmas and New Year your best ever. You’ll find: mix-and-match menus (canapés, starters, mains, desserts); all the roasts from duck, turkey, ham, vegetarian and vegan – and what to do with leftovers; Gill Meller’s celeriac ravioli; a new Christmas pudding from Paul A Young; easy cake decoration; a classic from Delia; plus, our Properly Useful Guide to the best drinks, cocktails, gifts, cheese and shop-bought shortcuts. It’s a happy Christmas guaranteed.