What Did Ancient Egyptian Soldiers Eat?
Ancient Egyptian soldiers ate fruit, vegetables, meat and cakes sweetened with honey. They also ate staple foods, such as bread, beans, onions, fish and garlic. Meals were often served with wine and beer. Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, geese and other fowl were commonly raised for meat and dairy.
Egyptian soldiers were given a generous ration of five minae’s worth of roast grain, two minae’s worth of beef and four cups of wine each day. The wine was sometimes used to add flavor to honey-sweetened desserts. At home, they ate meals prepared with local meats and crops. Because of their wealth, soldiers had much more variety in their diets than most Egyptians.
Cereal grains were used in a variety of ways by the ancient Egyptians. Emmer wheat and barley were used to make beer, cakes and bread. Lentils, chickpeas, lettuce, cucumbers, onions and garlic were grown and eaten. Some commonly eaten fruits include melons, pomegranates, figs, coconuts and apples. Many dishes were seasoned with fennel, poppy seed, cumin, juniper, fenugreek, aniseed and coriander. Sacrificial animal blood was used to make blood sausages.
In addition to food, the king provided soldiers with free land, often free of taxes. Most ordinary households raised small animals for meat, but soldiers often owned cattle in addition to standard animals such as pigeons, pigs, sheep and geese.