Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. An important part of a Greek youth’s upbringing involved pederasty - for both boys and girls. A poorer, second class of citizens existed too. David B. https://ssancientgreece.weebly.com/the-social-structure.html David B. 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). 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. Zeus was the ruler of the gods, along with his wife, Hera. About this time, the rise of a mercantile class (shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 B.C.E.) In addition to reading and writing, they were also schooled in things like poetry, math, and physical education. To be a citizen you had to be a male and you would have needed to complete your … The relationship between foreigners and local citizens seems to have been a strained one, particularly in times of wars and economic hardship. 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. https://ancientgreeceproject7f.weebly.com/social-structure.html There was not much direct taxation in Ancient Greece. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. In the ancient era, most lands were held by the aristocracy. 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. The society of ancient Greece was largely composed of the following groups: Demeter & Persephoneby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). Lives of Women in Ancient Greece were closely tied to domestic work, spinning, weaving and other domestic duties. Books The Ancient Greeks were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many gods. 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. Girls received an education from their mothers and were taught things like weaving and skills necessary to manage a household. Social Life in Ancient Greece. Indirect taxation was very well developed though not in all cities. 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. Copyright © 2021 Maryville University. They had no authority and absolutely no rights. 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. Symposiast & Hetairaiby Sebastià Giralt (CC BY-NC-SA) Ancient History Encyclopedia. : the most fertile and the closest to the protection offered by the city walls. Sparta had a slightly different social arrangement, with only three classes: citizens, slaves, and craftsmen or traders. Although the male citizen had by far the best position in Greek society, there were different classes within this group. Many of the slaves were brought in from other countries. It was also here that the first principles of democracy were created. 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. The highest class was made up of people born in Athens. 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. By focusing on just one category, students are encouraged to include more information and should complete 3-6 cells. Contact with non-family males was discouraged and women occupied their time with indoor activities such as wool-work and weaving. The aristocrats were often split into powerful family factions or clans who controlled all of the important political positions in the polis. Married at the typical age of thirteen or fourteen, love had little to do with the matching of husband and wife. https://www.hierarchystructure.com/ancient-greece-hierarchy The concept of philotimi holds a unique place in Greek social culture. 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. 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 . The gods in Greek religion were invisible, powerful spirits that could control what happened to people and the world. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/483/. Many would sew clothing for their families or to sell. The upper class symbolized a good civil character, good artistic taste, and highly socialized individuals.The people from this class handled … : 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. Rich people will have 50 slaves. Greeks persuaded themselves that it was they who had the best environment and characteristics and the purest bloodline and were, therefore, born to rule. Possessing more money than everyone else, this class could provide themselves with armour, weapons, and a horse when on military campaign. In Athens alone, nearly 1/3 of the population were slaves! Social Organization in Ancient Greece Athens (Upper class) - These citizens had to be born in Athens. From 650 B.… The second, was the higher-class prostitute (hetaira). His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. Although the male citizen had by far the best position in Greek society, there were different classes within this group. Slaves were not only owned by private individuals but also by the state, which used them in municipal projects such as mining or, as in the case of Athens, the police force. In Greek religion, each god represented a specific aspect of humans. Possessing more money than everyone else, this class could provide themselves with armour, weapons, and a horse when on military campaign. 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. One example of their legacy is the Olympic Games. 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 believed that they were born with no equality and that there were the citizenship, laws, religious institutions etc...) and also the belief system that the society used to justify these structures. Ancient Greek Society. Ancient Greek Social Structure In Greece, to be an upper class you are not supposed to have a job, and be a normal citizen. Web. 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. Women, of course, were also present in the various other non-citizen classes. Among the most famous Greek sculptures still in existence is the Venus de Milo. In fact, many were once slaves that had gained their freedom. Greek society is noted for its strong family structure and a low crime rate. It is impossible to say with accuracy how many slaves (douloi) there were in Greek society and what proportion of the population they made up. Modern society owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. Cite This Work 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. The aristocrats were often split into powerful family factions or clans who controlled all of the important political positions in the polis. Their children too could also become citizens. By taking a look at their way of life, it is possible to see some similarities to todays world as well as some of the traditions that were pushed aside in exchange for o… The land might be so far away that the owners had to live on it rather than travel back and forth from the city. The ultimate goal of a girl’s education was to prepare her for her role in rearing a family. 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). There was no aristocracy, which means a group of higher privileged people. The middle class was made up of people that may not have been born in Athens but were working hard at their trade. 650 Maryville University Drive St. Louis, MO 63141. 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. Ancient Greece: SOCIAL STRUCTURE Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city-state. Red-figure Tondo Depicting a Youthby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Owned by wealthy people. License. The topmost class in the Ancient Greek Government Hierarchy was the Upper Class.  For slaves there was, at least for some, a glimmer of hope to one day achieve their freedom. Submitted by Mark Cartwright, published on 15 May 2018 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. https://www.ancient.eu/article/483/. 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. And finally, slaves were at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Modern society owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. Female citizens had few rights in comparison to male citizens. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Their wealth came from having property and even more importantly, the best land, i.e. There was a working class though. In Athens, this was changed by Solon 's reforms, … Greek society included a significantly larger proportion of labourers than slaves. https://study.com/academy/lesson/ancient-greece-social-class-system.html Greek Peplos Dressby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Also, slaves in the army were sometimes given their freedom by the state following their victorious exploits. The men of ancient times, were often trained to be intelligent, warriors, and especially athletic. Were bought from slave traders or captured in war. They Liturgies also targeted large sums of wealth, and these taxes went to supporting public works. Spartan boys were removed from their families at the age of seven and started their work toward becoming soldiers. Joseph M. Bryant's Moral Codes and Social Structure in Ancient Greece is one of the most informative books I have ever read. 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. If a woman had no father, then her interests (marriage prospects and property management) were looked after by a guardian (kurios), perhaps an uncle or other male relative. 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. Last modified May 15, 2018. These latter women were educated in music and culture and often formed lasting relationships with married men. 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. 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. introduced class conflict into the larger cities. Slaves worked in all spheres and over 200 hundred occupations have been identified. This book examines the development of ancient Greek civilization through a path-breaking application of social scientific theories. 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. 13 Jan 2021. 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. Cartwright, Mark. Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life. Invasions, warfare, and competition for resources disrupted life for many people living throughout the Greek wo… If there was any type of work that needed to be done, slaves were required. The Greek Dark Age is the interval between the collapse of the... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. As city populations grew and inheritances became ever more divided amongst siblings, this secondary class grew significantly. When you think of ancient Athens you probably think about togas, the Greek gods and goddesses, marble buildings, and maybe even democracy. In return for the benefits of ‘guest’ citizenship they had to provide a local sponsor, pay local taxes, sometimes pay additional taxes, contribute to the costs of minor festivals, and even participate in military campaigns when necessary. Were rarely paid. 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. 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. by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). 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. What defines each class is a little different however. 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 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. Learn more about our online degree programs. Houses, slaves, flocks, and herds were all subject to taxation. What degree program are you interested in pursuing. From about 1000 B.C.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. It was also this class of women that entertained men (in every sense) at the celebrated symposium. Related Content After these basics were mastered, studies turned to literature (for example, Homer), poetry, and music (especially the lyre). "Ancient Greek Society." No reason was necessary, only the return of the dowry was expected. Ancient Greek politics, philosophy, art and scientific achievements greatly influenced Western civilizations today. 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. This book examines the development of ancient Greek civilization through a path-breaking application of social scientific theories. Did the Ancient Greeks Engage in Human Sacrifice? The social class system of Ancient Athens was very similar to structures in other cultures. The social classes applied to men only, as women all took their social and legal status from their husband or their male partner. In Ancient Greece, shop centers were referred to as agoras, which m… 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. Social Structure Temples were built to honor a specific god, and each god or goddess would have his or her own domain. Think about how many places pillars can be seen in architecture: This is a contribution from the Greeks. 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. In matters of Social Groups, or a "status quo" Greece had one. In some cases, their work could eventually pay for their freedom. 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. Women in the ancient Greek world had few rights in comparison to male citizens. Accordingly, estimates of the slave population in the Greek world range from between 15 and 40% of the total population. They then received equal tax status and the right to own property and land. 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. In Greek society, slaves were seen as a necessary and perfectly normal part of city-life. The people of this class possessed the uppermost power and position in the society. Cartwright, M. (2018, May 15). Ill-health, losing out on an inheritance, political upheavals, or war could also result in the ‘best’ getting their feet a little dusty. There was a well-defined upper, middle, and lower class as well as a separate slave 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. 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. Men had a more important part in society than women. These include working in the home, in agriculture, industry workshops (e.g. While the training was strict, the experience paled in comparison to that of the students of Sparta. Others from different locations could never aspire to fit in with this social group. The first and most common was repudiation by the husband (apopempsis or ekpempsis). The most famous example is the helot class of Sparta. In ascending order: 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. This was, however, a rare occurrence and the woman’s reputation in society was damaged as a result. They had even fewer rights than the middle class. 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. Meanwhile, the women stayed within the home to carry out the tasks for the household. 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. It was here that all institutions of government, religion, and learning were housed. 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 were three divisions of free men in ancient Greece: the nobles, thesecondary landowning class, and the middle business class.C. For many, ancient Greece is considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. These were semi-free workers, wholly dependent on their employer. In both Athens and Sparta, men played an active role in public life, spending time participating in government, learning new things, or working. All rights reserved. This upper class was responsible for everything from the government to education and philosophy. Engaged in manufacturing, trade, and commerce, these were the nouveau riche. Incoming Freshman and Graduate Student Admission, Fragments of Childhood: Growing Up in Ancient Greece. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. However, there was some movement between classes. 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. The upper class are the Athens, the middle class are the Metrics, the Lower class are the Freeman. 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. 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. They were considered free but weren’t given the same rights permitted to the upper class. The education of boys and girls varied greatly in ancient Greece. 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