The Gladiator's Diet

The main aspect that influenced the production of the film Gladiator was the famous scene where the audience follows Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius as he walks through a field of BARLEY as he puts his hand out through the field.

"Contemporary accounts of gladiator life sometimes refer to the warriors as hordearii--literally, "barley men." Grossschmidt and collaborator Fabian Kanz subjected bits of the bone to isotopic analysis, a technique that measures trace chemical elements such as calcium, strontium, and zinc, to see if they could find out why. They turned up some surprising results. Compared to the average inhabitant of Ephesus, gladiators ate more plants and very little animal protein."

Interesting.  The top athletes, with their lives on the line, ate 'very little' animal protein compared to non-athletes. Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates, such as barley, and legumes, like beans, was designed for survival in the arena.