Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon
A long time ago the Greek divided people into two main groups the citizens and the slaves. The citizens had the right to own land and take part in politics and law. The slaves had to work for free and they didnt have any of these rights. Slaves had to do stuff like help with farm work and other dirty work. Nobody really knows why, but most of the slaves were women and most of the citizens were adult men. This civilization only lasted about 504 years, but introduced lots of new concepts for the world.

Slaves in Athens and Sparta

Slavery played a major role in ancient Greek civilization. Slaves could be found in many places. However they did not only work as domestic servents. They also worked as factory workers, shopkeepers, mine workers, farm workers and ships crewmembers. Also the population of the slaves were high. There were just as many if not more slaves in Ancient Greece than regular people. There are many ways you could have become a slave. One way is just to born into slavery as a child of a slave. Or you could just be forced into doing it.
There were only about four main sources of slaves. War (when you get slaves from the opposing country), piracy (when pirates captured people from another boat), banditry (when bandits captured people on land), and international trade (legal trade where you buy and sell slaves).


The rules of the war was, that the winning side had absolute rights over the survivors, no matter who they were. Enslavement is what they usually did with them. A controversial subject with ancient Greek people, was the enslavement of whole entire cities, and some army rulers refused to do it.


Piracy was one of the more important sources for slaves. What pirates would do is demand that they get paid a ransom if someone wanted the person that they caught. If the ransom was not paid, or no one wanted the person they would either keep the person as a slave, or sell him as a slave.


Banditry is similar to piracy in the way they capture people, except that banditry doesn't happen in the ocean.

International Trade

International slave trade was when cities and towns traded slaves with neighbouring barbarians. This type of getting slaves was perfectly legal at that time. Sometimes barbarian slaves were even sold by their parents. The main sources of where the slaves came from was Ephesus, and Byzantium.

Extra facts

- Athens has the biggest slave population during the 5th and 6th centuries (almost 80,000)
- There were about 3-4 slaves per household in Athens
- A smaller source of enslavment is debt enslavement (when someone owes you money and they cant pay it off they work for you an dpay it off by bring a slave)
- The conditions in which slaves had to work varied according to there status. Slaves like the ones who worked in the mines had an extremely hard and brutal life, but the ones who were public slaves had a bit of independence and didn’t have as hard lives.

- both types of citizens can get an education but slaves don't have that option

Alexander The Great
Alexander The Great

Citizens in Athens and Sparta

The citizens in Athens were split into two groups, Citizens and Metics. A citizen had to be born with parents that were both of Athenian blood, and were more powerful than Metics. They were able to be government officials and participate in things like that. The social classes of citizens were only for men because the wife took on the class of her husband.

Government 800bc

Most Greek places in this time were governed by groups of land owners that were very rich (aristocrats). The word aristocrat was derived from the word aristoi which means best people. This system of government was known as oligarchy.


Mostly in Athens the government in 750bc was usually controlled by aeropagus (council). There laws were delivered through about three archons (magistrates).


In 500bc an aristocrat named Cleisthenes intoruduced the idea of democracy.


One famous Greek tyrant is periander. He was one of the rulers of a Greek city are town. He was a much respected man. His rule started around 627bc, and lasted 40 years.


1.The two main groups in the Greek citys were the citizens and the Slave
2.Citizens had the right to own land and take part with politics and law
3.Most of the citizens were adult men
4.The Greek fought with each other a lot
5. only land owning native men could be free citizens with the full protection of the law
6. it was not allowed for the owner of a slave to beat, or kill him/her
By Liam and Matt K


Alexander the Great. 2008. Flickr. 15 Feb. 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/21689565@N05/2158229710__>.
"Social Pyramid." 15 Feb. 2008. 15 Feb. 2008 <http://www.aldokkan.com/society/social_pyramid.htm>.
Citizens in Athens http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/Culture/
Temple of Poseidon. 2007. Flickr. 16 Feb. 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/bobesh14/1124529951__>.
Slavery in Sparta and Athens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Greece
Cleisthens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleisthenes
Periander http://www.livius.org/gi-gr/greeks/politicians.html__