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Soldiers' Rations

Amounts and allotments of wine (oinos
Four lines of the Oxyrhynchus papyrus 2046
Late 6th century A.D.

Political leaders, whether they were aspirants to senior positions in the Republic, or emperors angling to retain the support of the armies which had brought them to power in the first place, realized that a long drawn out diet of acetum, however invigorating it might be, would soon turn the hearts and minds of the soldiery against them. Accordingly, the emperor Maurice in Constantinople (A.D. 582-602), made sure that generous rations of wine, along with bread, meat, olive oil, and wood, were provided for the troops. Many of these troops were mercenaries (buccellarii) that had been sent to a town in Egypt, to quell an outbreak of civilian violence. The typical ration of wine was two sextarii per day.