Nicholas was dedicated to helping the poor throughout his life, famously (and anonymously) paying for the dowries of impoverished girls. His reputation as a secret gift-giver around town grew with time, and he became known especially for depositing coins or treats in the shoes of children who would place them out for that very purpose, sometimes in exchange for carrots or hay left for his horses. Nicholas is traditionally depicted wearing a red bishop's cloak, and was often helped by a small orphan boy, according to some legends.
Modern-day athletes often nurse their muscles with supplement shakes or chocolate milk after a workout. Similarly, gladiators, the sports stars of the Roman Empire, may have guzzled a drink made from the ashes of charred plants — a rich source of calcium, which is essential for building bones, researchers report this month in the journal PLOS One.
"Plant ashes were evidently consumed to fortify the body after physical exertion, and to promote better bone healing," Fabian Kanz, a forensic anthropologist at the Medical University of Vienna who led the research, said in a statement. "Things were similar then to what we do today."