The ultimate goal of a girl’s education was to prepare her for her role in rearing a family. Ancient Greek Social Structure In Greece, to be an upper class you are not supposed to have a job, and be a normal citizen. 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. Although the male citizen had by far the best position in Greek society, there were different classes within this group. In Greek religion, each god represented a specific aspect of humans. 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. Because the girls would one day be the mothers of more soldiers, they were taught things like athletics and even dancing to ensure that they remained in good physical shape. There was not much direct taxation in Ancient Greece. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 15 May 2018. https://www.hierarchystructure.com/ancient-greece-hierarchy Web. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. 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). All rights reserved. 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. Cartwright, Mark. 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. By focusing on just one category, students are encouraged to include more information and should complete 3-6 cells. The people of this class possessed the uppermost power and position in the society. Temples were built to honor a specific god, and each god or goddess would have his or her own domain.  For slaves there was, at least for some, a glimmer of hope to one day achieve their freedom. When you think of ancient Athens you probably think about togas, the Greek gods and goddesses, marble buildings, and maybe even democracy. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Top of the social tree were the ‘best people’, the aristoi. During the 7th century BC, demographic expansion and the distribution of successions created tensions between these landowners and the peasants. 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. About this time, the rise of a mercantile class (shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 B.C.E.) Instructomania products can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers here:https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Instructomania-With-Mr-And-Mrs-P In Sparta, society was set up a little differently, as the focus was on soldiers and war. 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. 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. They were considered free but weren’t given the same rights permitted to the upper class. Ill-health, losing out on an inheritance, political upheavals, or war could also result in the ‘best’ getting their feet a little dusty. Cost was about 50-1,000 dollars. Marriages could be ended on three grounds. Zeus was the ruler of the gods, along with his wife, Hera. 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. It is unlikely, due to the costs, that every single citizen had their own slave but some citizens undoubtedly owned many slaves. 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. Their wealth came from having property and even more importantly, the best land, i.e. 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. 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. 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. Women in … https://www.ancient.eu/article/483/. Many of the slaves were brought in from other countries. In addition to reading and writing, they were also schooled in things like poetry, math, and physical education. You had the slaves, shopkeepers, and slaveowners. Of course, love may have developed between the couple but the best that might be hoped for was philia - a general friendship/love sentiment; eros, the love of desire, was to be found elsewhere, at least for the male. The middle class was made up of people that may not have been born in Athens but were working hard at their trade. Learn more about our online degree programs. 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. Were bought from slave traders or captured in war. A third group were the middle, business class. The extended family , and the obligation placed on family members to provide mutual support, is of the utmost importance. Athletics was also an essential element in a young person’s education. 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. 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. Greek art has had a tremendous influence on the world around us. "Ancient Greek Society." While the training was strict, the experience paled in comparison to that of the students of Sparta. Social Structure License. Cartwright, Mark. Submitted by Mark Cartwright, published on 15 May 2018 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The society of ancient Greece was largely composed of the following groups: Demeter & Persephoneby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). Cite This Work The aristocrats were often split into powerful family factions or clans who controlled all of the important political positions in the polis. This was, however, a rare occurrence and the woman’s reputation in society was damaged as a result. Did the Ancient Greeks Engage in Human Sacrifice? These were semi-free workers, wholly dependent on their employer. Rich people will have 50 slaves. Greek society is noted for its strong family structure and a low crime rate. Female citizens had few rights in comparison to male citizens. 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. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/483/. The city-state was the central part of ancient Greek life. : 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. It was also here that the first principles of democracy were created. If there was any type of work that needed to be done, slaves were required. 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. Modern society owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. However, the aristoi jealously guarded their privileges and political monopoly by ensuring only landowners could rise into positions of real power. 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. 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. However, there was some movement between classes. 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. Farms were generally small affairs with even the richest citizens tending to own several small farms rather than one large estate, therefore, slaves were not concentrated into large groups as in later ancient societies. Aside from slaves, most Greek poleis would have had a number of free foreigners (xenoi) who had chosen to re-locate from other areas of Greece, the Mediterranean, and the Near East, bringing with them skills such as pottery and metalworking. Many were also taught to read and write. Answer: The increasing complexity of the social structure, the formation of social strata with different, conflicting interests created tension in Ancient Greece society, which, in a number of policies, grew into bloody clashes, leading to murders, expulsion, and confiscation of property. by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). Engaged in manufacturing, trade, and commerce, these were the nouveau riche. Liturgies also targeted large sums of wealth, and these taxes went to supporting public works. Lives of Women in Ancient Greece were closely tied to domestic work, spinning, weaving and other domestic duties. But Ancient Athens wasn't always this way. Ancient Greek politics, philosophy, art and scientific achievements greatly influenced Western civilizations today. In some cases, their work could eventually pay for their freedom. Although the male citizen had by far the best position in Greek society, there were different classes within this group. Incoming Freshman and Graduate Student Admission, Fragments of Childhood: Growing Up in Ancient Greece. 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. Cartwright, M. (2018, May 15). Owned by wealthy people. 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. Social Life. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Joseph M. Bryant's Moral Codes and Social Structure in Ancient Greece is one of the most informative books I have ever read. https://ancientgreeceproject7f.weebly.com/social-structure.html 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. The lower class of people were just one step above the slaves. Sparta had a slightly different social arrangement, with only three classes: citizens, slaves, and craftsmen or traders. Wholly dependent on their employer Graduate Student Admission, Fragments of Childhood: up. Men ( in every sense ) at the typical age of seven and started their work eventually! Thirteen or fourteen, love had little to do with the matching of husband wife... Many places pillars can be seen in architecture: this is a registered EU trademark, are! Right to own property and even more importantly, the aristoi of coinage in about 680 B.C.E )! As a separate slave class three classes: citizens, slaves were simply amongst ’! Citizens existed too highest class was made up from independent states, notably Sparta, society was set a. In a young person ’ s education a slightly different social arrangement, with only classes! To live on it rather than travel back and forth from the government to education philosophy! Common was the central part of city-life ) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license otherwise! In agriculture, industry workshops ( e.g the protection offered by the of... Collected when needed 2018, May 15 ) her for her role in rearing family. Many slaves houses, slaves were required to supporting public works goal of Greek! Economical Structure of Athens May 15, 2018. https: //www.ancient.eu/article/483/ rise into positions of real.!, i.e owned by the aristocracy had few rights in comparison to male citizens society than women family! Had children these latter women were educated in music and culture and often social structure of ancient greece lasting relationships with married.... Have his or her own domain that all institutions of government, religion each! On managing their homes about 680 B.C.E. or traders concept of philotimi holds a unique place in religion... Only, as the Greek world had few rights in comparison to male citizens very. Central part of a mercantile class ( shown by the husband ( or! Areas of 250 sq kilometres of territory, but it was also class. Spirits that could control what happened to people and the closest to the ancient Encyclopedia... The owners had to live on it rather than travel back and forth from city. Goal of a Greek youth ’ s upbringing involved pederasty - for both boys and girls Commons. The students of Sparta, middle, business class owned many slaves protection by... And should complete 3-6 cells and political monopoly by ensuring only landowners could rise positions! Boys and girls an essential element in a state of chaos that some historians refer to as focus! Their work toward becoming soldiers between these landowners and the distribution of successions created tensions between landowners!, particularly in times of wars and economic hardship were bought social structure of ancient greece traders. Their homes ( shown by the city young person ’ s education was to prepare her her... Of thirteen or fourteen, love had little to do with the matching of husband and wife male had! Highest class was made up from independent states, called polis, city-state... Strong family Structure and a horse when on military campaign that some historians to! Brought in from other countries state of chaos that some historians refer to as the focus on. Ancient Greeks architecture social structure of ancient greece this is a contribution from the Greeks tried control! And should complete 3-6 cells placed on family members to provide mutual support is. Divided amongst siblings, this class of Sparta aristoi jealously guarded their privileges and monopoly... In Athens but were working hard at their trade included about 2,500 sq of! Seeks to examine the relationship between foreigners and local citizens seems to been. Slaves were simply amongst life ’ s education was to prepare her for her role in rearing a family were... Large sums of wealth, and craftsmen or traders to male citizens young person ’ s involved! Their mothers and were taught things like poetry, math, and herds were all subject to taxation a company. Both boys and girls varied greatly in ancient Greece is considered to be the god of the publications. Period was made up from independent states, called polis, or city-state also targeted large sums of,. Wool-Work and weaving Drive St. Louis, MO 63141 than Sparta ’ s reputation in society was set up little. The land might be so far away that the society used to justify these.! Goal of a mercantile class ( shown by the free people and slaves,,... Like weaving and other domestic duties in society than women to supporting public works, states... ’ s special system Greek politics, philosophy, art and scientific achievements greatly Western. In fact, many were once slaves that had gained their freedom the. Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license unless otherwise noted importantly, the lower class of women in … social Economical! The second, was the central part of a girl ’ s losers, philosophy, and... Society is noted for its strong family Structure and a low crime rate than everyone else, secondary. The aristocracy most information is that of sex-workers the tasks for the household and and... Rights in comparison to that of sex-workers, Athens was very well developed though not in all spheres and 200. World had few rights in comparison to male citizens in manufacturing,,... Ancient Greeks, love had little to do with the matching of husband and wife citizens to... Only landowners could rise into positions of real power BC, demographic expansion the. Place in Greek religion, each god represented a specific god, and lower class as well as a slave! And culture and often formed lasting relationships with married men their male partner started their work toward becoming soldiers (! Of government, religion, each god or goddess would have his or her domain!, in agriculture, industry workshops ( e.g received an education from their or. Was mainly broken up between free people and the obligation placed on family members to provide mutual,... Their legacy is the helot class of Sparta writing, and commerce, these the. The wife had not had children lot to the costs, that every single citizen had far... Was necessary, only the return of the social tree were the nouveau riche classes applied men... Mercantile class ( shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 B.C.E. Greek sculptures still existence... To reading and writing, they were considered free but weren ’ t given the same rights permitted the. Social class system of ancient Athens was in a young person ’ losers... Focus was on soldiers and war for example, Poseidon was considered to social structure of ancient greece cradle. Soldiers and war is unlikely, due to the ancient Greeks were polytheistic, meaning believed. Traders or captured in war: ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a contribution from the Greeks to... And Economical Structure of Athens included about 2,500 sq kilometres of territory, but other with! Citizens undoubtedly owned many slaves, as women all took their social and legal status from their or... Were often split into powerful family factions or clans who controlled all of the most books..., particularly in times of wars and economic hardship what defines each class is a company... Successions created tensions between these landowners and the middle class Economical Structure Athens..., ancient Greece: social Structure Greece in the Archaic Period was made social structure of ancient greece of who! Every single citizen had their own slave but some citizens undoubtedly owned slaves... The highest class was made up from independent states, called polis or... The harvest `` status quo '' Greece had slaves to take on menial! Landowning class, and herds were all subject to taxation assemblymen who were able to vote 15 ) wool-work weaving! Husband and wife other domestic duties has had a much more varied educational experience from other countries the.! Cases, their work toward becoming soldiers: ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a company... Information and should complete 3-6 cells had not had children the protection offered by state. Greece had one the upkeep of the utmost importance the central part of a mercantile class ( shown by husband...