The Social Classes of Ancient Greek

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Although male citizens were in the majority with their full legal position, right to vote, holding public office, holding property, the social groups that formed the typical Greek city-state or polis of Ancient Greek society were extremely diverse.

Women, children, immigrants (both Greek and foreign), workers and slaves had certain roles, but there were interactions (often illegal) and also mobility between classes, especially in times of stress such as war with second-generation children.

Ancient Greek society generally consisted of the following groups;

-male citizens – in three groups: landed aristocrats (aristoi), poor farmers (perioikoi) and the middle class (craftsmen and merchants).

-part-time workers (eg Sparta's helots).

-women - they belong to all the above male groups without citizenship rights.

- children - are generally classified as under 18 years of age.

-slaves - douloi with civil or military duties.

-foreigners - those who are not resident (xenoi) or resident as foreigners (metoikoi), under the status of male citizens.


Although male citizens are at their best in Greek society, there are different classes within this group. At the top of this social tree are the 'best', that is, the aristotle. With more money than anyone else, this group was able to buy themselves armor, weapons, and a horse in times of military mobilization.

Aristocrats were divided into powerful family associations or groups within the police that controlled all important political positions. Their wealth has come from owning property or, more importantly, the best soil, in other words: the most fertile and closest to the city walls.

Poorer, second-class citizens are also seen. These are plots that have land, but whose land is perhaps less fertile, located further from the city, and therefore less protected than city land. Their lands may be so far away that their owners have lived there rather than constantly commuting to the city.

These citizens were called perioikoi (neighborhood residents) or, in a worse sense, 'unloved ones' and, depending on the local cities, came together in small village associations for protection. This second class grew significantly as city populations grew and inheritances became even more divided among siblings.

A third group was the middle class, the business class. This class, engaged in production, barter and trade, was the upstart/new rich class. However, they protected aristoitic privileges and political monopolies only by ensuring that landowners could rise to positions of power.

Still, there were movements between classes. Some could prosper and rise, while others could go bankrupt and fall into class (which could lead to the loss of citizenship or even enslavement). Disease, loss of inheritance, political revolutions, or war could result in the weakening of the 'best'.

I will write more about this in my next post. :) (Womens Class-Children & Adolescents-Labourers-Slaves-Foreigners)

Thanks for reading.

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It's nice to see different classes during ancient Greek civilization, though there's still a gap between rich and poor but I think the survival of the fittest is still practice on that timeline.

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now you will see them in detail :) see my other post please

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