The life of an ancient Greek depended on many factors. It was not a common way of life for all but a variety of life experiences for different strands of society. It could be said to be the best time to be rich or powerful and the worst to be a slave.
The husband in Greek homes was the head of the household, but the wife ran the household and supervised the slaves. Most Greek parents arranged weddings for their children.
The Greeks did feel that men and women were very different and naturally opposed to each other. Men, in the Greek view, were rational, thinking, stable, normal creatures, while women were irrational, hysterical, and dangerous.
The men spent a great deal of time in the works of the government and politics. The family was not a place for love but a duty for them and they indulged in many extramarital affairs and many cases with underage boys whom they mentored.
They took part in drinking competitions and parties which were very common in ancient Greece. There were separate rooms in their house for drinking with their friends. They indulged in many baord games and gambling using dices which were very popular in ancient Greece.
When not involved in politics, the men spent time in the fields, overseeing or working the crops, sailing, hunting, in manufacturing or in trade. For fun, in addition to drinking parties, the men enjoyed wrestling, horseback riding, and the famous Olympic Games. When the men entertained their male friends, at the popular drinking parties, their wives and daughters were not allowed to attend.
An aristocrat also has their estate and activities to look after. In many cases, they even took part in the administration of their states which took a large part of their lives. They led lavish life with a lot of slaves to attend to. While a poor man had it harder and had to do a lot to earn a living.
The life of a woman was mostly confined within the four walls of the house as it was considered immoral to go outside without a male companion. Raising kids was considered to be their main job while they even had to oversee the work of the slaves as the males were away from their homes most of the time. They looked after the agricultural estates and made sure their slaves were working properly.
Lives of Women in Ancient Greece were closely tied to domestic work, spinning, weaving and other domestic duties. They were not involved in public life or in politics. The Ancient Greek People Life was normally quite confined to the house although one public duty was acting as a priestess at a temple. On bright, sunny days, the women probably sheltered under a covered area of their courtyard as the ancient Greeks believed a pale complexion was a sign of beauty. They did not enjoy any political rights and were considered as the property of the husband.
Many children wanted to go to school but couldn’t go. Only those children of citizens could participate in school. The majority of the people who attended school were boys. Not many girls received the education. Only the state of Sparta was the exception as both the bpys and girls were allowed in school. But their education was more physical rather than intellectual and was focused on getting out the best of soldiers from their ranks.
The boys were taken to schools by the age of six and had to learn Greek epics, literature, science, etc. They were even trained in music, musical instruction, dance, and philosophy.
In Athens, subjects were taught at different schools. There was one for general studies, one for music, and one for physical education. In general studies, reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught. In music, students learned how to play ovals or a lyre. In physical education, they ran, jumped, and wrestled.
The most important part of their lives was wars and so physical training of boys took place regularly. After they had completed their school education they were taught the family trade like blacksmiths, craftsmen, business, etc. They were expected to lead the family business forward. They had to mandatory serve in the army after they attained the age of 19 to become a citizen and enjoy their rights.
The girls on the other hand were not allowed to go to school except in Sparta. They were to cook, spin, weave and basically the art of housekeeping mostly by their mothers or even by slaves. They were even trained how to raise as it was considered their primary aim in life.
Religion in ancient Greece:
The ancient Greeks were deeply religious people. They worshipped many gods whom they believed appeared in human form and yet were endowed with superhuman strength and ageless beauty. Religion was a very important part of ancient Greek life. The presence of many temples is a clear example of their popularity.
Male spent some time worshipping and performing rituals. Many activities, like even the Olympics, were attributed to the gods. Similarly, women could only be important in public spaces when they became priestesses in ancient Greek temples. They were greatly respected and exerted great influence.
Ancient Greek occupations/jobs/past times/food:
The majority of Ancient Greek people made their living from farming. Citizens often had landed outside the city which provided their income. The Greek landscape and climate were difficult to farm. Ancient Greeks usually ate bread (barley or wheat) and porridge, accompanied with food such as cheese, vegetables, fish, eggs, and fruit.
An animal such as deer, hare, and boars was hunted only as an addition to the food supply. Seasoning usually involved coriander and sesame seeds. Honey was probably the only sweetening that existed at the time, importance this is shown as the beehives were kept in terracotta.
Houses in ancient Greece:
Greek houses, in the 6th and 5th century B.C., were made up of two or three rooms, built around an open-air courtyard, built of stone, wood, or clay bricks. Larger homes might also have a kitchen, a room for bathing, a men’s dining room, and perhaps a woman’s sitting area.
Most meals were enjoyed in a courtyard near the home. Greek cooking equipment was small and light and could easily be set up there.The Ancient Greeks also played games that did not involve much physical activity also, such as marbles, dice, checkers, and knucklebones. Below is a famous case from the Vatican museum depicting Achilles and Ajax playing ‘Petteia’ checkers.
Fully one-quarter of the population was made up of slaves, usually, prisoners captured during the many clashes that extended Greek influence overseas. These slaves provided much of the manpower that fueled the burgeoning economy, working in shipyards, quarries, mines, and as domestic servants.
Slavery was a central feature of Ancient Greek Daily Life. The life of a slave was filled with hardwork and toil. Families of reasonable wealth would have slaves to carry out the household chores, to go shopping at the market and even to help bring up children. Many are said to have been flogged in case of lapses in their work and even for or a superior feeling by the Spartans.
Their life was restricted by many means. They had to take permission from their masters to marry or have kids. They did not hold or any lands or property. Even their children were not free as the status of slaves was hereditary.
It was not always forced and sometimes landless poor used to themselves as slaves willingly. They were not always physical workers but in many they were specialized professionals performing their specializd duties and gaining respect in their. It was the toil of the slaves which kept the Ancient Greek economy prosperous.