As is the case with every other state, it was no different for Greece as well. Greece, too, changed with the onset of new seasons. Further, a difference in Ancient Greek climate or weather could also be observed between different parts of Greece itself.

For instance, the weather in the northern part of Greece near Thermopylae has differently experienced rains during spring making the leaves green and leafy.

Ancient Greek Climate

Ancient Greek Climate

The temperature around this time was around 10 to 20 degree Celsius which is somewhere around the 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This was very different to what the southern part of Greece that is around Sparta experienced at the same time.\

Ancient Greek Climate

Greece has constantly enjoyed the three major seasons and it was no different before. We can divide Greece into two major categories as per its Ancient Greek Climate i.e. Northern Greece and Southern Greece. Surrounded by a lot of mountains and also the sea, Greece enjoyed a balance of seasons and temperatures. Summers were hot, winters cold and just about enough rain in the monsoon.


Similar to modern times Ancient Greek had a Mediterranean type of climate where the summers were hot and dry in which the average temperature was about 24 degrees Celsius or 75 Fahrenheit. Northwesterly wind and the Mediterranean waters kept the temperatures at a comfortable level.


The winters were cold and wet in which the temperatures did not go below 4.4 Celsius or 40 Fahrenheit in the Greek plains and lowlands. But the temperature went further down in the high mountains where snow was very common. We have references to the melting of snow by Homer as evidence of snowfall in Ancient Greece.


Ancient Greek had three main seasons and the third one apart from summer and winter was the monsoon which was very erratic and brought in storms. The average rainfall ranged from about 20 to 50 inches with a large amount of rain in the winters.

Spring and Autumn

Apart from the three main seasons of summer, winter and monsoon, there were two more minor seasons which overlapped with the other three.

Spring came in before summer and it was still rainy, especially in Northern Greece which became green and leafy with temperatures around 60 Fahrenheit or 10- 20 degrees Celsius.

Autumn was squeezed between winter and summer when storms were common and temperatures of about 70 Fahrenheit or 10-25 degrees Celsius.

Mediterranean Climate

Ancient Greece was a peninsula experiencing a Mediterranean climate. The summers were hot and dry. The beginning of June which marked the onset of summer observed the harvesting of wheat by the farmers. For a large part of the year, Greece experienced sunny days. It rained occasionally during summer in the southern part of Greece whereas its counterpart as in the northern part of Greece experienced thunderstorms during summers.

Ancient Greek Climate

The temperature in the northern part of Greece ranged from 80 to 90 degree Fahrenheit which is around 30 degree Celsius whereas the southern part experienced temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit which is 40 degree Celsius. The Mediterranean waters along with the northwestern breeze called as Estian ensured that the temperatures remained under control.

Fall was to be experienced during the month of October. It would start to rain again and storms would be experienced. The temperature would gradually fall from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 60. This was the time to plant wheat.

Ancient Greek Climate

Winters in Greece: Chilly and Rainy

Winters in Greece can be aptly characterized by two words: chilly and rainy though it does not become very cold. The average rainfall experienced during the winters was 20to 50 inches. Most often than not, it does not snow in the southern part like Sparta. The temperature in the southern part of Greece is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit which is as low as 10 degree Celsius.

As compared to this, the northern part would be colder and very often snow can also be experienced. For instance, the northern part involving Achaia, Arcadia, and Laconia have an alpine climate due to which they have heavy snowfall. The apt outfit for such weather includes a warm cloak, boots, and mittens. It would be interesting to note that there were no sweaters in ancient Greece as the Greeks were unaware of the concept of knitting.

Ancient Greek Climate

Climate in Ancient Greece

If we compare, the Ancient Greek Climate to what they have today, it will be interesting to note that there have not been any significant changes weather wise although now Greece has become a little warmer.

One of the reasons for such a change in weather is because of Global Warming, the other being that a lot of trees due to which the hills in Greece got the refreshing green look were drastically cut down leaving the hills bare.

Though the exact date as to when the trees were cut down cannot be accurately dated, it is assumed that the felling of trees occurred around 800B.C when iron came to be used.

Northern Greece

In Northern Greece, near Thermopylae, it would rain heavily in spring and the entire surrounding region would turn a lush green. The temperature would range between 10-20 degree Celsius. Northern parts of Greece would sometimes have snowfall during monsoon.

Snowfalls were much more regular after October when the winters would set in. Northern Greece would get really cold and you would need a lot of layers to feel warm. Temperatures would easily drop down below 10 degree Celsius. Summer months used to be hot with temperatures easily going above 30 degree Celsius.

Southern Greece

Southern Greece i.e. parts around the Peloponnese near Sparta have different temperatures. Summers in the Southern parts are much hotter and dryer. Northern Greece would sometimes have to face thunderstorms in summer.

A temperature in the Northern parts would vary in the range of 30o-35o Celsius while in the Southern parts it would easily go up to 40o Celsius. Southern parts of Greece like Sparta would hardly ever have snowfall in the winters.

Temperature would vary in the range of 10-15 degree Celsius in the Southern parts and one could observe a considerable difference in the Northern and Southern parts of the country. Greece even today has almost similar climate and the temperature doesn’t observe many extreme and undesired changes.

Effects on trade

The harsh climatic situations in ancient Greece and along with it the problem of communication and travelling, waterways were the preferred way of movement. This led to a flourishing of trade and commerce in ancient Greek states. They entered into extensive commerce with Egypt and also other areas like the Indian subcontinent especially in food grains and luxury items.

Greek olive oil and wine were popular worldwide, which led to merchants from all over the world coming into trading contact with Greece.

Wheat was extensively imported by many states due to a lack of food grains as a result of the harsh weather which often led to the rise of navies to protect this trade and also a rise of piracy.

Effects on Politics

The harsh climatic conditions also affected the political relations among the Greek states. Many have attributed the extensive warfare among the Greek states as a way to capture farmlands and resources. With a deficit in resources and lack of self-sufficiency among states, they had to go in search of foreign lands to maintain their food supply to the population.

This led to many powerful states like Athens with a powerful navy to colonize lands and extract tribute. One of the biggest reasons for Ancient Athenian prosperity was the huge tribute coming in from their overseas empire.

The Ancient state of Sparta also came into prominence with their capture of Messenia, a fertile stretch of land, which helped them to become self-sufficient and focus more on their famed hoplite army. This also led to Sparta always being anxious about slave revolts and much of their efforts went into the prevention of such events.

Effects on state policies

Private initiatives and private enterprises were the most preferred mode of business and trade in ancient Greece. But with harsh climatic conditions hampering agriculture and often causing droughts and floods, the state had to intervene and control the trade in wheat. It was the only trade which was regulated by the state.

They decided to limit the amount of wheat being exported to prevent famines in their lands for the sake of profits. In Athens, the importance of the wheat trade was immense with its urban city not producing enough food grains to feed the population. So they had to form elaborate machinery to mobilize ships, and crews to keep this trade going on smoothly. They even provided loans for ships and other things required for trade with a guarantee to forfeit loans in case of the drowning of the ships to incentivize the wheat trade.

They also had to build a huge navy to maintain their overseas empire and collect their tribute, a huge factor in their prosperity.

Did it snow in Ancient Greece?

Snow in Ancient Greece was quite rare but not unknown and they used to wear a Himation and snow is even mentioned in a poem written by the famous poet Hesiod and also in Odyssey written by Homer.