Roman Gladiators were known as Hordearii or Barley Men.
Gladiators were mostly vegetarians and their diets consisted, above all, of barley and vegetables. The results of the bone analyses revealed that gladiators ate considerably more plants and very little animal protein compared to the average inhabitant of Ephesus
Barley Grass is mentioned 37 times in the Bible.
Passover, one of Israel’s 3 main festivals, is associated with the harvest of barley. In the Bible, barley represents the “first fruits”, a symbolic representation of the first people to mature spiritually to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom that God requires.
Barley was the most important grain on the European continent in the 16th Century. It was used as currency and as a measuring standard.
Barley and silver were the dominant forms of currency in ancient Mesopotamia. Both were used as common denominators of value. Barley, however, was difficult to transport and varied more in value across distances and time, and so was used mainly for local trade. Interest rates on loans of barley were substantially higher than on silver: 33.3% vs 20%.
“Money in Mesopotamia,” Marvin A. Powell. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 39, No. 3 (1996), pp. 224-242.
“How Interest Rates Were Set, 2500 BC-1000 AD: Máš, tokos and fœnus as Metaphors for Interest Accruals,” Michael Hudson. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 2000.