Just like Greece today, Ancient Greece had a warm and dry climate. Its major industries were farming, fishing, and trade.
The Ancient Greeks worshipped gods and goddesses and had large, beautiful temples dedicated to them. The temples had stone columns and statues.
Most Ancient Greeks lived in villages or in the countryside. Because most crops didn’t grow well in Greece and resources were scarce, many Ancient Greeks were poor.
What did Ancient Greek houses look like?
Ancient Greek houses were built around an outdoor courtyard or garden. The courtyard was often used as a play area for children. It sometimes contained a well for water and an altar for worshipping the gods.
The rooms of the house surrounded the courtyard. These included bedrooms and sometimes a workroom or storeroom.
Some houses also had a room called the andron, where the men of the house would entertain male guests and business associates.
Walls were built from wood and mud bricks. They had either no windows or very small windows. The windows didn’t have any glass, but they did have wooden shutters to keep out the hot sun.
Most Greek homes didn’t have much furniture, and some didn’t have bathrooms. People sat on simple wooden chairs and stools. Most people washed at public baths, in nearby streams, or with water from a small bucket.
The homes of wealthy Ancient Greeks were decorated with colorful tiles and paintings. Rich people had private baths at home and used perfumed oil to keep their skin soft and fragrant.
The Ancient Greeks slept on beds stuffed with grass, feathers, or wool. Since the only light was from oil lamps and candles, most Ancient Greeks went to bed as soon as it got dark outside.
What jobs did people have in Ancient Greece?
Most Ancient Greeks were farmers, fishermen, or merchants. There were also scholars, soldiers, artists, scientists, and philosophers. Some Ancient Greeks were teachers, craftsmen, or government workers too.
All these occupations were meant for men. Women were usually homemakers who took care of the children and cooked meals.
What did Ancient Greeks do for fun?
One popular pastime in Ancient Greece was theatre. People sat in large, open-air theatres to watch plays. They had festivals, played music, and danced.
The Ancient Greeks also loved sports. This included hunted, fishing, swimming, and various ball games. In some parts of Greece, people enjoyed bull-jumping (leaping over a charging bull).
Ancient Greek children played with dolls made of wood, wax, clay, or rags. They also played with small pottery figures, yo-yos, hoops, rattles, and balls.
A game called “knucklebones” was similar to the game of jacks but was played with the ankle-bones of sheep or goats. Children played an early form of marbles using nuts.
Did Ancient Greek children go to school?
Different Greek cities and towns had different types of school systems, but most Ancient Greek boys did attend school.
They usually started school around age seven and finished when they were 18. Boys learned reading, math, writing, and sometimes philosophy, government, and how to play a musical instrument.
In some cities, boys had two years of military school after they turned 18.
Girls were taught at home. If their mother could read and write, she often taught her daughters to read and write as well. If not, she still taught them to cook, sew, and run a household.
In Sparta, girls did go to school outside of the home. Spartan girls were athletic and knew how to fight, wrestle, and use weapons.
Was Ancient Greek life different for men and women?
While men received an education, most women didn’t. Women also couldn’t work in most jobs.
Men were expected to work and be involved in the public life of their city, but women were expected to live private lives taking care of the home.
Only males could be citizens with full political rights. In Ancient Greek cities that voted, only men could vote.
Things were different in Sparta. Spartan women needed to be strong so they could give birth to strong male warriors. They exercised outdoors like men and competed in athletic competitions.
Spartan women were known for being freer and more educated than other Greek women. Unlike women in other parts of Greece, they could own land, mingle with men, and express their opinions about politics and other public issues.
An advanced civilization
The Ancient Greeks were very advanced for their time. They lived in houses, worked jobs that still exist today, sent children to school, played sports and music, and attended plays and other performances.
Of course, they didn’t have any of the technology we have now. And except in Sparta, women did not have the rights women have today.
But in many ways, Ancient Greek daily life wasn’t too different from daily life in modern society.