People belonging to the state of Athens were known as Athenians. Athens is known as the central city-state of Greece. A peculiar fact about the Athenians is their right to vote. The law in Athens prohibits the adults to vote in Athens if they have not completed their military training. The populations in Athens belonging to slave class, women, children etc. were excluded. Ancient Greek Athenians were also suspended for failing to pay a debt to the city.

Ancient Greece. Athens

Where was Ancient Athens located?

Ancient Athens was located in the centre of the Cephesian Plain, about 20km inside from the Saronic Gulf and was surrounded by rivers, making it a fertile area.

Ancient was much smaller than the modern city of Athens and the walled ancient city was about 2km from east to west, and a bit less from north to south. The Acropolis stood at the southern part of the walled city, while the commercial and social centre, the Agora stood to the north of the Acropolis.

Beliefs and thoughts of Ancient Greek Athenians:

According to the thoughts of Athenians, individuals need to be set free if and only they obey the laws mentioned by the legal authority of Greece. This very statement gave the citizens to excel in their field without any interference.


Social classes in Ancient Athens

Ancient Athens Culture

Greek culture has given major emphasis to individuality. Athenians have the ability to face any challenge without fear. Another vital belief among Athenians was a balance between human body and its mind. Ancient Greek Athenians can be involved in many professions.

Some may be a poet, writer, honored etc. and other may be seen involving in art and drama. But whatever they do, they should always remember two important phrase-nothing in excess and know thyself.


It means an individual should know his or her capacity. They should not do something more than their ability. Another phrase asks the individuals to know about themselves, analyze them and then proceed with a task.

Education in ancient Athens

Ancient Athenian Education

Old Education

In classical Athens, education focused on two things- physical and intellectual. Physical education was considered very important as a good physique was an element of beauty for ancient Greek males. They would start their physical training at the age of seven at the gymnasium along with their elementary education.

The students used to learn Greek classical texts, dance, music, philosophy and Poetry. Both were considered equally important for the development of a child. This system was also known as the old education.

Higher Education

From about 420 BC, under the influence of philosophers like Socrates and also the Sophistic movement, a new Higher education became prominent. In this system, intellectual capabilities were being held in greater value than physical qualities which even caused great controversies among the Athenians.

It focused more on reason and logic as their framework and subjects like mathematics, astronomy, harmony, rhetoric and harmonics flourished. This can be said to be a reason for the great Athenian achievements in the field of science, art, literature, dramas, etc. in the classical Age.

The Artform of Athenians:

We can experience one of the unique arts among the Athenians. The art was not only their profession but their passion and love lie with it. We can get the evidence of their artistic nature by looking at the jewelry, pottery, architecture, sculpture etc., which was solely made by Ancient Greek Athenians.


The Dionysian theatre was one of the examples of their art form. The play form was named after the god of wine. The festival takes place where all the gods were honored. All the famous poets, as well as the play writers, were involved in the very festival. The theatre remains overcrowded to watch the performance of the eminent artists.

Another interesting fact about performer is their gender. The performers were only men. They perform both the role of men and women. The entry fee was only two obols, but the people who did not have the fee are allowed to get inside, absolutely free of cost.

Ancient Athens Government

Athens before the classical age had an aristocratic form of government in which the ex-jurors in a council known as Aeropagus took all the decisions for the city. They ruled through a chief magistrate appointed by them known as Archons.

But then in the 6th century Solon, reformed the political system which was again improved by Cleisthenes to create a government governed by the free male citizens of the state which came to be known as the Ancient Athenian democracy.

All the free citizens took part in the assembly and the decisions were taken by voting on the issues. Women were not allowed to take and only males had the right to participate in the government.

Ancient Athens vs Sparta

The fundamental difference between Sparta and Athens was their outlook on life. Spartans lived a very martial way of life, where luxuries were shunned and frugality was glorified. Athenians on the other hand was a prosperous city-state where the citizens, especially the wealthy upper class people enjoyed all kinds of luxuries.

Spartans were famed for their hoplite army, with the only state having a standing army. While Athenians were a major sea power which was very essential to their prospering trade and commerce, along with the need to protect trade routes and collect tribute from their far flung overseas empire.

The ultimate focus of the Spartans was always their military even their education which considered reading and writing too much could cause softening of their citizens while the Athenians focused on culture and intellectual activities more than physicality. They have given the world epic stories, drama, philosophy, etc. Which survives even today.

Daily life in Ancient Athens

Daily life was different for different strata of people. The upper-class males took part in the democratic process of the city, framed policies, and voted for or against proposals.

They often went to market, participated in intellectually stimulating debates, discussed politics, and philosophy, visited theatres, saw art, etc.

While the athletes trained in the gymnasium to improve their physique and develop physical capabilities, stamina, and skills to take part in sports which would earn them fame and prestige.\

The females on the other hand were almost confined to the interiors of the house in which the work of household was their duty. Cooking, weaving, spinning cloth, looking after children and supervising slaves were their daily work.

The females on the other hand were almost confined to the interiors of the house in which the work of household was their duty. Cooking, weaving, spinning cloth, looking after children and supervising slaves were their daily work.

The children also had differential treatment according to gender. Boys used to be taken to school from the age of seven where they were taught music, literature, philosophy, rhetoric, epics and also had physical training to become warriors. The girls were kept at home and not allowed at schools. They were taught mainly by their mother and also sometimes by slaves. They mainly learned to take care of the household.