Pre-History to 1500 AD


5 million – 12,000 BC 

`Archeologists, including Peter Wilson, have long believed the early hominids in Africa seem to have been primarily vegetarian and probably preferred grasses, grains, leaves, fruits and seeds. Fossils of plant foods are far more plentiful at these sites than bones or bone fossils are. Only the bones of small animals, such as birds and the occasional squirrel, have been found at these sites. Homo Sapiens-sapiens (the current human species) were still eating a largely plant based diet when agriculture and the world’s first civilizations developed around 12, 000 BCE.’ 3. Food: A Cultural Culinary History, by Professor Ken Albala (University of the Pacific). 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. 10. Man, The Promising Primate: The Conditions of Human Evolution by Peter J. Wilson. https://en.wikipedia.org/

3000-2000 BC `Animal sacrifices were made by Brahman priests (Brahmanism) until the 6th century B.C.E. Prior to this time, incarnation, karma, vegetarianism and ahimsa were nowhere mentioned in the sacred writings of the Brahmans.’ 6. Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer.


1450 BC 

`29 - And God said, Behold, I give you every herb-bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 - And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every herb for meat: and it was so.’ The Holy Bible, Genesis 1:29-30. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. 9. The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ by Charles Vaclavik. https://en.wikipedia.org/


500’s BC 

`Chinese sage, Lao Tzu (604-531 BC), writes the classic Tao Te Ching giving rise to Taoism the first of three Chinese religions; all of which call for doing no harm to any other life form. (There was no name for a vegetable based diet/lifestyle).’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 6. Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, by Rynn Berry https://en.wikipedia.org/


`Hinduism teaches that humans should not inflict pain on other animals, leading to the peaceful and compassionate practice of vegetarianism.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 6. Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


`Greek philosopher, musician, mathematician, and anti-vivisection activist Pythagoras (570-495 BC) leads what is thought to be the first commune requiring a vegetarian diet. He wrote The Kinship of all Life. People who abstained from eating meat were called Pythagoreans until the mid-19th century.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 5. Ethical Vegetarianism: From Pythagoras to Peter Singer, Edited by Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


`Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BC) formerly a Jain, becomes the Buddha and inspires Buddhism, which forbids harming any living creature. It is evident that Buddhism after Jainism, was one of the world’s first animal protection societies. “The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” – Buddha.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 6. Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


`Mahavira 540-510 BC) founds Jainism, which values animal rights and forbids the taking of life whether insect or a root vegetable.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 6. Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


400’s BC 

`Greek philosopher, Plato, notes the relationship between one’s diet and one’s conduct, writes of the ideal city being vegetarian, saying that meat is a luxury that leads to decadence and war, and questions the excessive amount of land needed to raise cattle.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


`Vivisection appears to have first evolved around this time for the purpose of understanding the human anatomy and physiology (Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius). If laws permitted (and sometimes when they didn’t), human cadavers were dissected, but the use of animals in vivisection and dissection was generally less mired in ethical and religious concerns. Like today, animals were used not only to learn more about them, but also as surrogates for humans. Though it was, and still is seen, by some as important research, it has long been proven that vivisection and dissection of animals has led to centuries of misunderstandings about human anatomy and physiology resulting in countless false diagnoses and poor healthcare.’ 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. www.dyingtolearn.org/animalUseHistory.html, www.navs.org/science/history-of-vivsection)


100 BC - 600 AD 

The Gnostic Heretics included the Gnostics, Manicheans, the Marcionites, the Montanists/Novatians, the Paulicians, and the Massalians. They were Christian sects who believed Christ taught dualism, asceticism, pacifism, and vegetarianism. Some did not believe in procreation since virginity was considered a form of purity. Many of them were destroyed because they refused to adopt the beliefs/lifestyles of the mainstream religion. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. 9. The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ by Charles Vaclavik.


0 - 30 AD 

`The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, biblical scholars have long held that Jesus Christ was a member of an Essene sect called the Nazoreans. Essene is a word derived from the Greek word osios, “holy”. These societies strictly followed the Torah, the first 5 books of the Old Testament, and combined Pythagorean customs such as abstinence from animal food, wearing white linen garments, ritual bathing, the sharing of personal property, the eating of a sacred meal, and belief in the imperishability of the soul, with such Jewish practices as circumcision, and the observation of the Jewish Sabbath. Early Christians, Christian sects, and many monastic orders through the ages have followed in Jesus’s example.’ 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 6. Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. 9. The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ by Charles Vaclavik. https://en.wikipedia.org/


8 AD 

`Roman poet, Ovid, urges abstinence from eating meat and the abandonment of animal sacrifice.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/

56 AD `Greek philosopher, Plutarch (56 – 120) a vegetarian, writes a number of pro-vegetarian essays including On the Eating of Flesh.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 5. Ethical Vegetarianism: From Pythagoras to Peter Singer, Edited by Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


179 AD  

`The invention of Tofu (Dou Fu, Bean Curd) is attributed to Prince Liu An during the Han dynasty in China. It is widely believed that Tofu spread throughout Southeast Asia with the spread of Buddhism, first to Korean (when?) and then to Japan in 710.’ 3. Food: A Cultural Culinary History, by Professor Ken Albala (University of the Pacific). https://en.wikipedia.org/


233 AD 

`Greek philosopher, Porphyry (233 – 306), revives interest in Plato’s philosophy. He writes On Abstinence from Animal Food.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 5. Ethical Vegetarianism: From Pythagoras to Peter Singer, Edited by Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


276 - 312 AD 

`The Manicheans were originally a Zoroastrian sect who were considered heretics. The Manicheans were non – violent vegetarians who believed in dualism, asceticism, and astrology. In 276, the founder, Mani, was arrested and died from the torture he endured while in jail. In 312, Christianity started to accept Manichean teachings forming what would be known as Christian Manicheanism, later the Church considered them heretics.’ 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/


990 AD 

`The Bogomils (a Christian sect?) called for a return to what they considered to be early spiritual teaching, rejecting the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and their primary political tendencies were resistance to the state and church authorities. This helped the movement spread quickly in the Balkans, gradually expanding throughout the Byzantine Empire and later reaching Kievan Rus'BosniaDalmatiaRasciaItaly, and France-(Cathars). They did not believe in violence to animals or fellow creatures and were vegetarians. In 990 the Bogomil leader, Basil, was summoned by Emperor Alexius I and was arrested. Basil and all the rest of the Bogomils in the region were burnt, going to their deaths refusing to be converted the Roman Christianity. Bogomilism continued to be considered a heresy until it is vanquished by the Turks in 1463. Despite this, it continued to spread in northern Italy and southern France. Until this time, these Gnostic and Manichean ideas were allowed among Christian clergy.’ 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer.


1012 – 1330 AD 

`The Cathars, flourished in the south of France. They, too, were non – violent, vegetarians and were protected by the nobility, clergymen, and lay folk throughout southern France. The Cathars were tolerant of other religions. This created a safe haven for Jews when anti-Semitism swept through Europe. Catharism had become a mass movement and continued to grow for another hundred years until Pope Innocent III organized the Albigensian Crusade against the them. The Albigensian Crusade, 1209 to 1229 - Masses of soldiers were sent into southern France to hunt down and kill the Cathar heretics. In Beziers alone, fifteen thousand men, women, and children were stabbed and hacked to pieces in the streets and in their homes by these good Christian knights from northern France. When a commander asked the papal legate how to distinguish a heretic from a Catholic, the reply, it is said, was “Kill them all. God will recognize his own.” All the cities of the Languedoc in southern France were conquered and destroyed. By 1330 the last Cathar had been executed.’ 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer.


1052 AD

`At Goslar, Italy, Emperor Henry III hangs the local Cathars until dead for not eating meat. By now people were losing faith in the Church because they struggled to feed themselves while the Church flaunted its wealth in direct contrast to Christ and the Apostles.’ 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer.


1452 AD 

`Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), widely considered the world’s greatest genius, opposed eating meat on humanitarian grounds. He passionately denounced the slaughter of animals and loathed meat eating. His notes indicate a rising disgust with his fellow humans. It is well known that Da Vinci dug up and dissected human cadavers to improve his understanding of human anatomy. Da Vinci becomes one of the world’s first important ethical vegetarians since ancient times.’ 1. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page. 4. Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore, From Buddha to the Beatles, by Rynn Berry. 7. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer. https://en.wikipedia.org/