What Did the Spartans Eat?

The Spartan diet, famed for its simplicity even in ancient times, consisted chiefly of barley bread, meat, cheese, milk and fruit. Spartans also drank wine, though they rarely indulged to the point of drunkenness.

Sparta's location in the fertile valleys of the Peloponnesian peninsula enabled the city-state to produce much of its own food, primarily in the form of grains tended by a massive population of semi-free agricultural workers called helots. The surplus of food this created relative to other Greek city-states, such as Athens and Corinth, which had to import much of their food, enabled Sparta's citizens to devote themselves full-time to preparing for war. It is to their simple, but sufficient, diet that Spartans owed a large part of their military supremacy in Greek affairs.