Roman Soldiers on Campaign: Cooking or Relying on Camp Cooks?

When we think of Roman soldiers on campaign, we often imagine them in battle, marching, or building fortifications. However, an equally important aspect of their daily life was eating. The question of how they managed their meals, whether they cooked their own food or relied on camp cooks, is an intriguing one. This article delves into the culinary habits of Roman soldiers on campaign, providing insights into their diet, cooking methods, and the role of camp cooks.

The Diet of Roman Soldiers

Roman soldiers’ diet was primarily grain-based. They received a daily grain ration, usually wheat, which they could grind into flour and bake into bread. They also consumed a variety of other foods, including vegetables, fruits, cheese, and occasionally meat. Soldiers were also known to drink a type of sour wine known as posca.

Cooking Methods

While on campaign, Roman soldiers were often responsible for preparing their own meals. They would carry a millstone for grinding grain and a mess kit for cooking and eating. The mess kit typically included a frying pan, a pot, and a plate. Soldiers would cook their meals over an open fire, often using simple recipes. For instance, they might make a porridge-like dish from their grain ration, or they could bake bread if they had access to an oven.

The Role of Camp Cooks

Although Roman soldiers were generally expected to cook their own meals, there were also camp cooks who would prepare food for the officers and sometimes for the rank-and-file soldiers. These cooks were usually slaves or soldiers who had been assigned to this duty. They would prepare more elaborate meals than the soldiers could make for themselves, often including meat and a variety of other ingredients.

Supplying the Army

The Roman army relied on a sophisticated supply system to provide food for its soldiers. Grain and other supplies were transported in large quantities from Rome and other parts of the empire. The army also foraged for food in the local area, especially when on campaign in enemy territory. However, this could be risky, as it might provoke hostility from the local population.


In conclusion, while Roman soldiers on campaign were generally responsible for cooking their own meals, they also had access to food prepared by camp cooks. Their diet was primarily grain-based, supplemented by a variety of other foods. The Roman army’s sophisticated supply system ensured that its soldiers were well-fed, even when on campaign in distant parts of the empire.

Delicious grilled Portobello mushrooms topped with a tangy balsamic glaze. A flavorful vegetarian option for any meal....

Explore clean, recycled plastic masks - a sustainable, revolutionary alternative to traditional cloth masks....

Discover the rich and flavorful Indian Butter Chicken recipe, a classic dish featuring tender chicken in a creamy tomato-based sauce....

Delicious balsamic glaze drizzled over a classic Caprese pizza, creating a perfect blend of flavors. A must-try for pizza lovers....