History of Europe

Greek Society - History of the Greek Society

The Greeks are a lively people who enjoy conversation and the company of others.

The classes of Greek society varied from one city-state to another. Athens had three classes:

Citizens, the Eupatrids: Only they had political rights to participate in democracy. Women and children were not part of the citizenry;

Metics: They were the foreigners who inhabited Athens. They had no political rights and were prohibited from acquiring land, but they could engage in commerce and handicrafts. In general, they paid taxes to live in Athens and were obliged to perform military service;

Slaves: They formed the vast majority of the Athenian population, as for each adult citizen there were around 18 (eighteen) slaves. Slaves were considered the property of their master, although there were laws that protected them from excessive mistreatment. Athens was a state that guaranteed minority democracy at the expense of majority slavery.
The ancient Greeks spoke several different dialects for hundreds of years. After 330 years BC, a common dialect called Koine developed from the early dialect spoken in Athens. Several invaders penetrated Ancient Greece, changing the Greek language and customs.
In Greece, poverty is always a guest; (Herodotus). The people led a simple life, starting with the houses, which were made of stone or bricks dried in the sun and covered with stucco. Most Greeks only ate two meals a day. Lunch, ariston, often consisted only of a plate of beans or peas and a raw onion or boiled turnip. At nightfall there was deipnon, the main meal that included bread, cheese, figs, olives and sometimes a piece of meat or cheese.

The Greeks did not know sugar, but they used honey to sweeten their food. They used olive oil to spread on bread, in addition to using it as cooking oil and soap. Most Greeks drank a mixture of wine and water; they considered milk fit only for beasts and barbarians.

The Greeks developed a beautiful and graceful costume. Men and women wore a chiton, a tunic that came down to the knees or ankles; a narrow belt held the feminine chiton at the waist. Most of these tunics were made of wool; only the richest could have it made of cotton or linen. The people wore brown chitons for work and white for formal occasions.

Both men and women also wore himation, robes that they arranged with pleats over their shoulders and arms. The lads sometimes wore a chlamys, a small cloak fastened over the shoulder. Women could also wear a péblos, which was a variation of chiton. Inside the house the Greeks usually went barefoot; on the street many wore sandals. Most Greeks walked around with their heads uncovered.

Every village or town had an open-air gym where men could exercise or play various types of ball games. Children often rolled hoops or played with dolls. Older men would sit in the agora (market), where they would play checkers or talk. The Greek woman worked almost all the time and had little fun. Hunting was a favorite pastime on farms.

Greek Civilization

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