For many, ancient Greece is considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. Greek society included a significantly larger proportion of labourers than slaves. Contact with non-family males was discouraged and women occupied their time with indoor activities such as wool-work and weaving. They had no authority and absolutely no rights. Spartan boys were removed from their families at the age of seven and started their work toward becoming soldiers. Men had a more important part in society than women. The Greek cities were originally monarchies, although many of them were very small and the term king (basileus) for their rulers is misleadingly grand. Their children too could also become citizens. The class that is bottom of them are the slaves. 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 city-state was the central part of ancient Greek life. Ancient Greek politics, philosophy, art and scientific achievements greatly influenced Western civilizations today. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Possessing more money than everyone else, this class could provide themselves with armour, weapons, and a horse when on military campaign. They were considered free but weren’t given the same rights permitted to the upper class. 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. Ancient Greece: SOCIAL STRUCTURE Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city-state. It indicates a notion of public honor and social responsibility by which Greeks are measured in … 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. An important part of a Greek youth’s upbringing involved pederasty - for both boys and girls. Cite This Work In ascending order: The social class system of Ancient Athens was very similar to structures in other cultures. The Ancient Greeks were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many gods. Zeus was the ruler of the gods, along with his wife, Hera. 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. One example of their legacy is the Olympic Games. David B. https://ancientgreeceproject7f.weebly.com/social-structure.html The Greeks tried to control the gods through sacrifice, prayer, and living a good life. It was also here that the first principles of democracy were created. License. Ill-health, losing out on an inheritance, political upheavals, or war could also result in the ‘best’ getting their feet a little dusty. 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. In Ancient Greece, shop centers were referred to as agoras, which m… Houses, slaves, flocks, and herds were all subject to taxation. It was also this class of women that entertained men (in every sense) at the celebrated symposium. 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. 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 . Greek Peplos Dressby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). The group for which we have most information is that of sex-workers. A poorer, second class of citizens existed too. 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. The relationship between foreigners and local citizens seems to have been a strained one, particularly in times of wars and economic hardship. But Ancient Athens wasn't always this way. Indirect taxation was very well developed though not in all cities. Also, slaves in the army were sometimes given their freedom by the state following their victorious exploits. About this time, the rise of a mercantile class (shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 B.C.E.) 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. 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. During the 7th century BC, demographic expansion and the distribution of successions created tensions between these landowners and the peasants. There were four main social classes of people within Athens. Possessing more money than everyone else, this class could provide themselves with armour, weapons, and a horse when on military campaign. Their wealth came from having property and even more importantly, the best land, i.e. As city populations grew and inheritances became ever more divided amongst siblings, this secondary class grew significantly. 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. 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. Red-figure Tondo Depicting a Youthby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Among the most famous Greek sculptures still in existence is the Venus de Milo. Learn more about our online degree programs. 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. 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. 650 Maryville University Drive St. Louis, MO 63141. 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. David B. There was no aristocracy, which means a group of higher privileged people. 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. 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 men of ancient times, were often trained to be intelligent, warriors, and especially athletic. 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. Cartwright, Mark. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. If there was any type of work that needed to be done, slaves were required. No reason was necessary, only the return of the dowry was expected. citizenship, laws, religious institutions etc...) and also the belief system that the society used to justify these structures. The topmost class in the Ancient Greek Government Hierarchy was the Upper Class. The extended family , and the obligation placed on family members to provide mutual support, is of the utmost importance. There was a working class though. 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. Women were here divided into two categories. The society of ancient Greece was largely composed of the following groups: Demeter & Persephoneby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). This book examines the development of ancient Greek civilization through a path-breaking application of social scientific theories. There were three divisions of free men in ancient Greece: the nobles, thesecondary landowning class, and the middle business class.C. Girls received an education from their mothers and were taught things like weaving and skills necessary to manage a household. 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. Many were also taught to read and write. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Books 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. Most homes in ancient Greece had slaves to take on these menial tasks. Bibliography "Ancient Greek Society." Athletics was also an essential element in a young person’s education. https://www.ancient.eu/article/483/. Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life. The most famous example is the helot class of Sparta. Social Organization in Ancient Greece Athens (Upper class) - These citizens had to be born in Athens. And finally, slaves were at the bottom of the social hierarchy. 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. 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. https://www.hierarchystructure.com/ancient-greece-hierarchy The centrality of the family has been little affected by the rise of … The middle class was made up of people that may not have been born in Athens but were working hard at their trade. Although the male citizen had by far the best position in Greek society, there were different classes within this group. Ancient History Encyclopedia. It was here that all institutions of government, religion, and learning were housed. Women in the ancient Greek world had few rights in comparison to male citizens. Modern society owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Social and Economical Structure of Athens. 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. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. Top of the social tree were the ‘best people’, the aristoi. Social Structure In Athens, the people started out with a monarch but transitioned to a government made up of assemblymen who were able to vote. Highest class was responsible for everything from the city walls sew clothing for their families or sell! If there was any type of work that needed to be done, slaves were seen as a.... 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