Wildlife is a key and interesting feature of every society from the ancient to the present times. Flora and fauna are always necessary aspects to study. Ancient Greece was also no different in this regard. Ancient Greek animals were also no different than the animals found in the present day. Numerous stories, fables, tales, allegories, and myths are conveyed about these animals. In fact, some of the Ancient Greek animals are also featured in mythical and mystical stories. Ancient Greek mythology is rich in stories surrounding animals and finds a key place in their stories. Whether these animals were metaphysical or mythical or really existed is not the topic of discussion. But all of these animals were verily present in Greek culture.

Significance of the Animals in Ancient Greece

In regards to Ancient Greece animals, it can be said that animal husbandry was a major profession. Apart from agriculture, it was a major profession. It was a sign of wealth and immense power. Owning animals for household purposes was considered to be a wealthy sign for the Ancient Greek people. Thus, Ancient Greek people who had anything to do with animals were considered powerful and the Ancient Greek people who had anything to do with animals were considered to be powerful and were looked up to with respect. Thus it was a sign of social respect for the people of Ancient Greece. Household animals and their care and upkeep was key feature in the livelihood of Ancient Greece.

Ancient Greek Animals

Geography of Ancient Greece

The geographical layout of Ancient Greece was a key problem in the development of animals. That is the reason why animals in Ancient Greece were not very well-developed. The Ancient Greek terrain was not a plain which caused a lot of difficulty in the rearing of the animals. In spite of everything, cattle, goats, and sheep were present in those days as well.

In fact, pork, poultry, goats, and cattle were used as a source of both meat and their services. Services like wool from sheep, and cattle were reared for milk, and poultry for eggs was quite prevalent in those days. So people who kept these animals made the best out of these animals. Thus the nature of the terrain, the geography, and the conditions of Ancient Greece was very important for the survival of the professional people in Ancient Greece.

Ancient Greek Animals

Fodder used for the Animals

The knowledge about the food of these animals was also considered to be a part of the great understanding of these animals. For example, people used to feed the kitchen waste to the poultry, and fodder to the cattle was fed normally. There have not been many changes in their eating styles. Animals in Ancient Greece were not only very similar to the ones that are found today as well but also there is no difference in the way of their rearing! Even horses were found that were majorly used for military purposes.

Ancient Greek Animals

Animals from the Ancient Greek Mythology


A centaur is a creature from Ancient Greece which is a half-human being and half-horse. They traditionally represented drunkenness and unruliness. They were aggressive and attacking in nature.


A gorgon is a creature from Ancient Greece which is a half-woman and half-snake. Medusa was the most famous gorgon from Ancient Greece and she had the unique capability to turn onlookers into stone. She was, however, ultimately killed by Perseus.


A minotaur is a creature from Ancient Greece which is half-man and half-bull. The minotaur was the guardian of the grand maze or labyrinth at Knossos. In a deadly battle with Theseus, it suffered defeat and was ultimately killed.


A griffin is a creature from Ancient Greece which is half-lion and half-eagle. It had the tail, body, and hind legs of a lion with the front legs and head of an eagle. It is traditionally considered as the king of the Ancient Greek animal kingdom and a guardian of the treasure.


Cyclops is a unique creature from Ancient Greece. It is basically a one-eyed giant. Polyphemus is one of the most famous cyclops who detained Odysseus and his troops. But they were successful in escaping the detention and eventually blinded Polyphemus in the process.


A hydra is a multi-headed snake. It is another unique and dangerous creature from Ancient Greece. Hercules, the legendary Ancient Greek hero, successfully slayed Lernaian Hydra who was one of his 12 laborers. The poisonous blood of the hydra was later used by Hercules as poison on his deadly arrows.


A chimera is a mythological animal of Ancient Greece which is partly a lion, snake, and goat. The chimera is a fire-breathing creature that has a lion’s body, the tail of a snake, and a goat’s head, rising from the back. Chimera was finally killed by the hero Bellerophon.


Pegasus is a winged horse that is a popular mythological creature from Ancient Greece. The story of the birth of Pegasus is a very interesting one. It was born from the severed head of Medusa and helped the hero Bellerophon.


The Sphinx is a winged lion that has the head of a woman. It is another important animal from the Ancient Greek mythological figure. The Ancient Greeks were considered to be troublesome creatures that created menaces for them. The most famous and popular of them set a riddle for Oedipus to solve.


Siren is a half-woman-half-bird creature from Ancient Greece. The sirens were very famous for attracting and luring the sailors to disaster using their beautiful music.
Ancient Greek mythology is positively filled with stories involving weird and interesting creatures. They have been aptly represented in pottery, literary tradition, and in sculpture and could prove helpful in certain situations. The imaginative blend of animals also served to represent the disorder of both the animal and foreign kingdoms in the Greek view of the world and perhaps also represented the unfamiliar wildlife of distant lands. The triumph of Greek heroes over these terrible creatures was an entertaining metaphor for the perceived superiority of the Greek way of life, the victory of light over darkness, reason, and order over chaos.
If you want to know more about these animals in detail you can read a lot of books available in your nearby library. Alternatively, you can also research these animals on the net. The internet can give you a good idea about Ancient Greek animals / various animals.