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Living in Ancient Greece

Being man in ancient Greece meant that you ran the government and city. You were often not at home, instead either filling a government position, tending crops or manufacturing goods. You would take part in the Olympic games when they came around. Women couldn't even attend these games due to the fact that all of the competitions were done in the nude.

Women didn't really have any power outside of the home. They really weren't even allowed to leave the home very often, except to visit relatives, or attend weddings, funerals or religious ceremonies. But inside the house, the woman reigned supreme. As powerful as the man was in general society, when with his family he acted mainly as an honored guest. The woman of the house ran and oversaw the slaves in doing all the household functions. In fact, women rarely if ever did any housework themselves. Virtually all Greek households had slaves which performed the duties; the women of the house delegated and oversaw.

As stated above, slaves were in almost every household in ancient Greece. Greece relied heavily on slaves as a manual work force. Female slaves cooked, cleaned and did other household chores while male slaves guarded the house while the male citizens were away and even taught the young children of the household their early school lessons.
Slaves couldn't enter school, get involved in politics or even have their own name. A slave's master would name his or her slave as seen fit.


The ancient Greeks loved to dance and had many dancing events throughout the year. Men and women didn't' dance together, however, and were rarely even allowed to be present at the other's dancing festivals. There were many types of dances, from comic to spiritual to warlike.

Storytelling was very important to ancient Greeks as well and was a major source of entertainment. Many popular stories, such as the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer and Aesop's fables, still entertain people today.


Education of ancient Greece's youth were generally handled one of two ways. Most city-states taught in the Athenian method, whole Sparta had it's own education system.

A Greek student working on a composition

The goal of school in Athens was to provide a rounded education in the arts and sciences of the day. Children were taught in the home until about 7, then went to a private school until age 14 where lessons were recited aloud due to the extreme rarity of books in ancient times. After 14, boys went on to a secondary school, then two years of military service.

Spartan education was an education in survival. Physical fitness, martial prowess and self discipline were the main ideals of Spartan schools. Training started at age 6 or 7 and was brutally tough. It is not known if girls were treated as harshly as the boys, but Spartan girls were certainly taught wrestling, combat skills and gymnastics. In Sparta everyone was strong and capable of fighting.


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