A custom which differs considerably from our own must be instanced next, in their choice of food. It is an unpleasant subject, but can scarcely be passed over . The flesh of the animals they usually discarded, while the parts which among us are avoided as food, were by them devoured. The blood also they drank--often hot from the animal--and various cooked dishes were also made of it.
It must not, however, be thought that they were without the lighter, and to us, more palatable, kinds of food. The seas and rivers provided them with fish, the flesh of which they ate, though often in such an advanced stage of decomposition as would be to us revolting. The different grains were largely cultivated, of which were made bread and cakes. They also had milk, fruit and vegetables.
A small minority of the inhabitants, it is true, never adopted the revolting customs above referred to. This was the case with the Adept kings and emperors and the initiated priesthood throughout the whole empire. They were entirely vegetarian in their habits, but though many of the emperor's counsellors and the officials about the court affected to prefer the purer diet, they often indulged in secret their grosser tastes.
Nor were strong drinks unknown in those days. Fermented liquor of a very potent sort was at one time much in vogue. But it was so apt to make those who drank it dangerously excited that a law was passed absolutely forbidding its consumption.