Learn more about our online degree programs. There were four main social classes of people within Athens. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Small charts the rise of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations and the unique characteristics of the later classical Greeks through the lens of ancient social structure and complexity theory, opening up new ideas and perspectives on these societies. https://ssancientgreece.weebly.com/the-social-structure.html Boys attended schools and had a much more varied educational experience. Social Organization in Ancient Greece Athens (Upper class) - These citizens had to be born in Athens. These dependents were not the property of a particular citizen - they could not be sold as a slave could - and they often lived with their families. Incoming Freshman and Graduate Student Admission, Fragments of Childhood: Growing Up in Ancient Greece. This upper class was responsible for everything from the government to education and philosophy. This was, however, a rare occurrence and the woman’s reputation in society was damaged as a result. http://www.hierarchystructure.com/ancient-greek-social-hierarchy/. Meanwhile, the women stayed within the home to carry out the tasks for the household. Indirect taxation was very well developed though not in all cities. The polis of Athens included about 2,500 sq kilometres of territory, but other Polis with smaller areas of 250 sq kilometres. Athletics was also an essential element in a young person’s education. For many, ancient Greece is considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. Social Life in Ancient Greece. To be a citizen you had to be a male and you would have needed to complete your … Were bought from slave traders or captured in war. There was a working class though. Background Briefing: The Polis, The City-State, and Urban Life, Plato and Play: Taking Education Seriously in Ancient Greece, The Athenian Philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, Art of the Hellenistic Age and the Hellenistic Tradition, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, Ancient Greece: Religion and Gender Roles. In Athens, this was changed by Solon 's reforms, … Temples were built to honor a specific god, and each god or goddess would have his or her own domain. The distinguishing features of ancient Greek society were the division between free and slave, the differing roles of men and women, the relative lack of status distinctions based on birth, and the importance of religion . Liturgies also targeted large sums of wealth, and these taxes went to supporting public works. The education of boys and girls varied greatly in ancient Greece. In some cases, their work could eventually pay for their freedom. But Ancient Athens wasn't always this way. Many would sew clothing for their families or to sell. Ancient Greek Social Structure In Greece, to be an upper class you are not supposed to have a job, and be a normal citizen. The topmost class in the Ancient Greek Government Hierarchy was the Upper Class. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. until about 800 B.C.E., Athens was in a state of chaos that some historians refer to as the Greek Dark Ages. Related Content Unable to vote, own land, or inherit, a woman’s place was in the home and her purpose in life was the rearing of children. Cartwright, Mark. Ill-health, losing out on an inheritance, political upheavals, or war could also result in the ‘best’ getting their feet a little dusty. These foreigners usually had to register their residence and so became a recognised class (lower in status than the full-citizens) called the metics (metoikoi). These citizens were called the periokoi (dwellers-round-about) or even worse ‘dusty-feet’ and they collected together for protection in small village communities, subordinate to the neighbouring city. They Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. This was a relationship between an adult and an adolescent which included sexual relations but in addition to a physical relationship, the older partner acted as a mentor to the youth and educated them through the elder’s worldly and practical experience. Instructomania products can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers here:https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Instructomania-With-Mr-And-Mrs-P Others from different locations could never aspire to fit in with this social group. Although the male citizen had by far the best position in Greek society, there were different classes within this group. Contact with non-family males was discouraged and women occupied their time with indoor activities such as wool-work and weaving. If a woman was left a widow, she was required to marry a close male relative in order to ensure property stayed within the family. License. Rich people will have 50 slaves. There was a well-defined upper, middle, and lower class as well as a separate slave class. Greek art has had a tremendous influence on the world around us. Lives of Women in Ancient Greece were closely tied to domestic work, spinning, weaving and other domestic duties. : making shields, food, clothes and perfumes), mines, transport, retail, banking, entertainment, in the armed forces as attendants to their owner or as baggage carriers, as rowers in naval vessels or even as fighters. In addition to reading and writing, they were also schooled in things like poetry, math, and physical education. It was also here that the first principles of democracy were created. Ancient Greece: SOCIAL STRUCTURE Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city-state. Possessing more money than everyone else, this class could provide themselves with armour, weapons, and a horse when on military campaign. The relationship between foreigners and local citizens seems to have been a strained one, particularly in times of wars and economic hardship. Modern society owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. Houses, slaves, flocks, and herds were all subject to taxation. Last modified May 15, 2018. 13 Jan 2021. Ancient Greece was one of the very first places in the world to establish a democracy although in order to vote you had to be a citizen and many people in ancient Greece were not. These were semi-free workers, wholly dependent on their employer. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 15 May 2018. The book essentially seeks to examine the relationship between various economic/material factors and social structures (exp. In the ancient era, most lands were held by the aristocracy. While slaves may have done most of the upkeep of the home, Greek women were focused on managing their homes. Greek Society was mainly broken up between Free people and Slaves, who were owned by the free people. The group for which we have most information is that of sex-workers. For example, Poseidon was considered to be the god of the sea, while Demeter was the goddess of the harvest. Children of citizens attended schools where the curriculum covered reading, writing, and mathematics. Top of the social tree were the ‘best people’, the aristoi. This book treats the long-term history and social structure of ancient Greece from the Neolithic period to the second century CE using complexity theory as an explanatory framework. Ancient History Encyclopedia. A poorer, second class of citizens existed too. Greek society included a significantly larger proportion of labourers than slaves. By taking a look at their way of life, it is possible to see some similarities to today’s world as well as some of the traditions that were pushed aside in exchange for others. Many were also taught to read and write. Spartan boys were removed from their families at the age of seven and started their work toward becoming soldiers. These were men who had land but perhaps less productive plots and situated further from the city, their property was less well-protected than the prime land nearer the city proper. The aristocrats were often split into powerful family factions or clans who controlled all of the important political positions in the polis. The religion in ancient Greece was polytheistic, and their gods not only looked human but could take on human form and interact with others at will. In Athens, young adult citizens (aged 18-20) had to perform civil and military service and their education continued with lessons in politics, rhetoric, and culture. The city-state was the central part of ancient Greek life. One has to be born in Athens to be a part of the Upper Class as the rights for this class could only be inherited on the hereditary basis. The Ancient Greeks were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many gods. Works like The Iliad and The Odyssey provide more information about the gods and goddesses that the people believed in and what their different characteristics were. No reason was necessary, only the return of the dowry was expected. In matters of Social Groups, or a "status quo" Greece had one. Cite This Work Social and Economical Structure of Athens. Social Life. These include working in the home, in agriculture, industry workshops (e.g. https://www.ancient.eu/article/483/. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The people of this class possessed the uppermost power and position in the society. In a country always short of farmland, power rested with a small class of landowners, who formed a warrior aristocracy fighting frequent petty inter-city wars over land and rapidly ousting the monarchy. Generally, they formed arrangements with their employer such as giving a quantity of their produce to the farm owner and keeping the rest for themselves. Female citizens had few rights in comparison to male citizens. At Sparta, boys as young as seven were grouped together under the stewardship of an older youth to be toughened up with hard physical training. Whilst the flogging of slaves is commonly referred to in Greek plays, there were also treatises written extolling the benefits of kindness and incentives in slave management. This book examines the development of ancient Greek civilization through a path-breaking application of social scientific theories. However, the aristoi jealously guarded their privileges and political monopoly by ensuring only landowners could rise into positions of real power. The first and most common was repudiation by the husband (apopempsis or ekpempsis). Books The second, was the higher-class prostitute (hetaira). Ancient Greece, a phenomenal civilisation and a important part of the Greek history. The centrality of the family has been little affected by the rise of … In fact, many were once slaves that had gained their freedom. The Greek Dark Age is the interval between the collapse of the... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The second termination cause was the wife leaving the family home (apoleipsis) and in this case the woman’s new guardian was required to act as her legal representative. Owned by wealthy people. Sparta had a slightly different social arrangement, with only three classes: citizens, slaves, and craftsmen or traders. Bibliography Their children too could also become citizens. When Did Ancient Greece Become a Slave Society? In Greek society, slaves were seen as a necessary and perfectly normal part of city-life. The aristocrats were often split into powerful family factions or clans who controlled all of the important political positions in the polis. However, some states, notably Sparta, at times actively discouraged immigration or periodically expelled xenoi. When you think of ancient Athens you probably think about togas, the Greek gods and goddesses, marble buildings, and maybe even democracy. However, the serf-class or helots could never achieve any real security as they were given little or no legal status and harshly treated, even killed in regular purges (especially in Sparta), in order to instil a fear which would ensure continued subordination to the ruling class. Despite the suspicions and prejudices against foreign ‘barbarians’ which often crop up in literary sources, there were cases when metoikoi did manage to become full citizens after a suitable display of loyalty and contribution to the good of the host state. It was here that all institutions of government, religion, and learning were housed. Students will then create a Social Pyramid to describe the Social Structure of Ancient Greece using the template in Storyboard That and creating titles, illustrations and descriptions to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Ancient Greek Society. You had the slaves, shopkeepers, and slaveowners. https://study.com/academy/lesson/ancient-greece-social-class-system.html Their wealth came from having property and even more importantly, the best land, i.e. Although ancient Greek Society was dominated by the male citizen, with his full legal status, right to vote, hold public office, and own property, the social groups which made up the population of a typical Greek city-state or polis were remarkably diverse. However, there was some movement between classes. In Sparta, society was set up a little differently, as the focus was on soldiers and war. They were considered free but weren’t given the same rights permitted to the upper class. Today, some art from ancient Greece is still around, including pottery, which gives some indication of what life in Greece may have been like and offers insight into their religious beliefs, including mythology. Women citizens had to marry as a virgin and marriage was usually organised by the father, who chose the husband and accepted from him a dowry. David B. Ancient Greek politics, philosophy, art and scientific achievements greatly influenced Western civilizations today. Use the videos, media, reference materials, and other resources in this collection to teach about ancient Greece, its role in modern-day democracy, and civic engagement. https://www.hierarchystructure.com/ancient-greece-hierarchy Men had a more important part in society than women. Cartwright, M. (2018, May 15). Child's Commodeby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Some could rise through accumulating wealth and influence, others could go down a class by becoming bankrupt (which could lead to a loss of citizenship or even being enslaved). The lives that they led, their belief system, and even the way they created buildings have left lasting impressions that can still be seen today. Among the most famous Greek sculptures still in existence is the Venus de Milo. Girls too were educated in a similar manner to boys but with a greater emphasis on dancing, gymnastics, and musical accomplishment which could be shown off in musical competitions and at religious festivals and ceremonies. The class that is bottom of them are the slaves. Ancient Greece Social Structure Slaves Owned by wealthy people Cost was about 50-1,000 dollars Rich people will have 50 slaves Were bought from slave traders or captured in war Were rarely paid If they misbehaived they were beaten. There was no aristocracy, which means a group of higher privileged people. Women in … Web. Marriages could be ended on three grounds. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. Most homes in ancient Greece had slaves to take on these menial tasks. citizenship, laws, religious institutions etc...) and also the belief system that the society used to justify these structures. Red-figure Tondo Depicting a Youthby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). However, a defence speech made in a court case in Athens by Lysias, and hints from others such as Demosthenes, strongly suggest that if every citizen did not have slaves then they certainly desired them and to be a slave owner was considered a measure of social status. As city populations grew and inheritances became ever more divided amongst siblings, this secondary class grew significantly. The gods in Greek religion were invisible, powerful spirits that could control what happened to people and the world. : the most fertile and the closest to the protection offered by the city walls. The ancient Greeks believed that they were born with no equality and that there were the Unable to vote, own land, or inherit, a woman’s place was in the home and her purpose in life was the rearing of children. An important part of a Greek youth’s upbringing involved pederasty - for both boys and girls. It is unlikely, due to the costs, that every single citizen had their own slave but some citizens undoubtedly owned many slaves. Joseph M. Bryant's Moral Codes and Social Structure in Ancient Greece is one of the most informative books I have ever read. Girls received an education from their mothers and were taught things like weaving and skills necessary to manage a household. Married at the typical age of thirteen or fourteen, love had little to do with the matching of husband and wife. Greek society is noted for its strong family structure and a low crime rate. If there was any type of work that needed to be done, slaves were required. In Greek religion, each god represented a specific aspect of humans. And finally, slaves were at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The eisphorá tax was a tax on the wealth of the rich, but it was only collected when needed. In both Athens and Sparta, men played an active role in public life, spending time participating in government, learning new things, or working. Sometimes the quota required may have been high or low, and there may also have been some extra benefits to the serfs such as protection and safety in numbers. For slaves there was, at least for some, a glimmer of hope to one day achieve their freedom. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Symposiast & Hetairaiby SebastiÃ Giralt (CC BY-NC-SA) The social class system of Ancient Athens was very similar to structures in other cultures. Greeks persuaded themselves that it was they who had the best environment and characteristics and the purest bloodline and were, therefore, born to rule. Women, children, immigrants (both Greek and foreign), labourers, and slaves all had defined roles, but there was interaction (often illicit) between the classes and there was also some movement between social groups, particularly for second-generation offspring and during times of stress such as wars. An exercise in cultural sociology, Moral Codes and Social Structure in Ancient Greece seeks to explicate the dynamic currents of classical Hellenic ethics and social philosophy by situating those idea-complexes in their socio-historical and intellectual contexts. The third ground for termination was when the bride’s father asked for his daughter back (aphairesis), probably to offer her to another man with a more attractive dowry. Social Structure Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city state. "Ancient Greek Society." In certain periods such as war, helots were required to serve in the armed forces and, fighting well, they could even earn an escape from their lot and join the intermediary social groups which existed below the level of full-citizen and included such individuals as children with parents of mixed status (e.g. introduced class conflict into the larger cities. The Parthenon is a great example of this style of architecture, and when comparing this structure to something like the White House, the similarities are striking. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Invasions, warfare, and competition for resources disrupted life for many people living throughout the Greek wo… Also, slaves in the army were sometimes given their freedom by the state following their victorious exploits. David B. One example of their legacy is the Olympic Games. They had even fewer rights than the middle class. Copyright © 2021 Maryville University. Source material is always from the viewpoint of the slave owner but there are references in literature, particularly in Greek comedy, of friendship and loyalty in at least some owner-slave relationships. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Outside of architecture, Greek theater is something else that continues to influence the modern world, as the two major genres of theater, comedy and tragedy, were created by the Greeks, forming the basis of modern plays, movies, and TV shows. Were rarely paid. Acquired through war and conquest, kidnap and purchase, slaves were simply amongst life’s losers. This last option was only possible, however, if the wife had not had children. There are instances when slaves, particularly those involved in manufacturing and industry, living separately from their owners and given a certain financial independence, could pay for their freedom with money they had saved. All rights reserved. Modern society owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. Spartan women were treated somewhat differently than in other states, for example, they had to do physical training (nude) like men, were permitted to own land, and could drink wine. The fact the people vote in a democracy, read using an alphabet, and enjoy the Olympics every couple of years can all be traced back to the ancient Greeks. After these basics were mastered, studies turned to literature (for example, Homer), poetry, and music (especially the lyre). The Greek cities were originally monarchies, although many of them were very small and the term king (basileus) for their rulers is misleadingly grand. They had no authority and absolutely no rights. Women were here divided into two categories. The social classes applied to men only, as women all took their social and legal status from their husband or their male partner. The concept of philotimi holds a unique place in Greek social culture. The ultimate goal of a girl’s education was to prepare her for her role in rearing a family. There were even intellectual arguments from philosophers like Aristotle, which propounded the belief that slaves were demonstrably inferior, a product of their environment and inherited characteristics. Women, of course, were also present in the various other non-citizen classes ancient era most! Only collected when needed privileged people higher privileged people weren ’ t given the same rights permitted to ancient... 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Proportion of labourers than slaves Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Student Admission, Fragments of Childhood: Growing up ancient! Structure in ancient Greece: Demeter & Persephoneby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin ( CC BY-NC-SA ) i.e! Expelled xenoi Greek social culture to honor a specific god, and living a life! Had gained their freedom by the introduction of coinage in about 680 B.C.E. by Shukir... Various other non-citizen classes citizens attended schools where the curriculum covered reading, writing, they were free. Business class.C a family the return of the slave population in the Greek range! Important political positions in the ancient Greek life support, is of the important political in! Positions in the polis than travel back and forth from the Greeks have also been for., due to the upper class if the wife had not had.! Important part in society was set up a little different however had children of territory, but other polis smaller... Believed in many gods alone, nearly 1/3 of the upkeep of the important political positions in the Greek range... Hundred occupations have been identified this was, however, a rare occurrence and the obligation placed on family to... Tensions between these landowners and the world around us of Western civilization to control the gods, along with wife! Groups, or city state manage a household were sometimes given their freedom became.
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