Panem et Circenses
For Egyptians and Greeks, it was clear that order in the streets was easier to maintain if the food needs of the people were met. There was an ancient Egyptian saying; i.e. "He whose belly is empty complains loudest!". Therefore, grain production was given the highest priority. Bread was also an important component of religious celebrations. Ramses III, for example, sacrificed 200,000 loaves of bread to the gods annually.
The importance of bread to Greeks and Egyptians was passed on to the Romans who created guild like organizations to ensure quality bread production and innovation. Roman rulers would say "Panem et Circenses!", which means, "Bread and Circuses!", in reference to the superficial means of appeasement they would provide the people to gain support.
This clip from the movie Gladiator shows how powerful bread can be.