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Religion and Society in Ancient Greece

Info: 1062 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in History

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In Ancient Greece, 500-400 BC was known as the, “Classical Period”. This time period was full of wars and fighting between Persia and other countries. The year 480 BC was the busiest year by far, during the year Themistocles took victory over the Persian naval fleet, Athens defeated Persia and Greece was invaded by Persia. The year 479 BC saw Themistocles defeat the Persians again, this time at Platea. The Battle of Marathon occurred in 490 BC and the first Peloponnesian War took place between 460-445 BC, ending in a truce, which led to the Second Peloponnesian War, which left Athens in ruins as Sparta took the victory, before declaring bankruptcy.

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In Ancient Greece, “religion was personal, direct and present in all areas of life”. (Cartwright,  2018) reece’s main God’s and the God’s that most people believed in were the Olympian Gods, led by Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes, Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Artemis, hades, Hephaistos, Dionysos. Due to this greece’s beliefs were classified as polytheistic, “meaning that they believed in multiple deities” (Greek Boston, 2019). As the years continued Gods became patrons of cities, Ares was called upon for wars and Hera for weddings. Originally temples were a simple altar in a designated area, although overtime temples were built as honors for certain Gods. The temples were separated from the rest of the community often by a symbolic gate or propylon. Scared sites also received financial donations, as well as dedications of statues and fountains. They were commonly known as praises to the Gods and a nod of appreciation. Although the temples were for worship, they were not used during religious practices, religious practices were held at a designated altar outside the temples.  When worshipping Gods, the animals that were sacrificed to be burnt or cooked were always the same sex/gender as the God that was being worshipped. Women weren’t allowed to have public roles in the Greek society, however they were allowed to be priests, usually the priest was the same gender as the God they preached. Although women priests were typically selected if they were a virgin or beyond menopause. Priests preached a specific God, but weren’t exactly religious experts.

Most labor and funding went to temples in Ancient Greece, however housing was still a priority. Most houses in Ancient Greece were plain and simple. Most houses were made of mud-bricks that were often covered in plaster. Pottery tiles were a highly popular resource when it came to roofs on houses. Back in 500 BC, windows were holes in the wall, without glass! Majority of people who were poor in Ancient Greece, lived in houses that consisted of two or three rooms. Ancient Greeks who were rich lived in large houses, these houses had several rooms, often these rooms were arranged around a courtyard. Many of these “rich” houses had two-storeys. The most common layout was kitchen and ding room downstairs as well as the living/lounge room. Upstairs saw bedrooms and a, “gynoecium”, this was a woman’s room. “The women wove cloth there and also ate their meals there away from the men). (Lambert, 2019). Furniture in houses (rich and poor) was very basic. Ancient Greeks often stored things in wooden chests or hung things form wooden pegs on walls. Some rich homes would have a dresser to display expensive cups. For added comfort people would recline on couches, which also acted as beds. The couches were made of wooden frames that often had rope webbing and mats or rugs on top for style. Most poor people awoke at sunrise and slept at dusk, however rich people would light their homes with olive oil lamps, therefore they could wake early or stay up till late.

Ancient Greece wasn’t a fashionista country. Most of the jewelry they wore was made predominantly for function and was very simple. “Linen and wool were two of the most common fabrics used for clothing in Ancient Greece” (Scifo, 2019). Wealthy Greeks often wore lots of jewelry. Usually their jewelry was gold and covered in gems. (Their jewelry was extremely practical to, “A single piece of fabric could be styled and restyled, to fit a particular occasion or a fashion” (Ancient History Encyclopedia 2012). Due to high temperatures in Greece, the best pieces of clothing were the pieces of clothing with the least amount of fabric. Typically, every family member’s clothing, consisted of a rectangular piece of fabric, that often had pins for fastening. Often they wore shoes and/or hats too. Due to this clothing, many people though that they just wore a single potato sack. However, the Greek’s changed this by dying their clothes with brigh colours or decorating them with ornate patterns. The style and type of the jewelry depended on who it was for. There were many different types of jewelry, most of them were made from basic tunic, “the tunic was worn by both men and women, and varied in length according to job and gender” (History Encyclopedia 2012). Greek’s weren’t very big fans of shoes, therefore they would walk around barefoot, although when it come to special events they would wear leather sandals or boots. Although Greek clothing wasn’t very trendy as such it was highly functional.


  • Ancient History Encyclopedia 2012, UK, viewed 14 August 2019, <https://www.ancient.eu/article/20/ancient-greek-clothing/>.
  • Cartwright, M 2018, Ancient History Encyclopedia, viewed 11 August 2019, <https://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Religion/>.
  • Greek Boston 2019, viewed 11 August 2019,
  • <https://www.greekboston.com/culture/ancient-history/religion/>.
  • Lambert, T 2019, Life in ancient Greece, viewed 12 August 2019, <http://www.localhistories.org/GREECE.HTML>.
  • Mark, J 2013, Ancient History Encyclopedia, viewed 11 August 2019, <https://www.ancient.eu/greece/>.
  • Scifo, J 2019, Ancient Greek Clothes, Fashion, & Jewelry Lesson For Kids, viewed 14 August 2019, <https://study.com/academy/lesson/ancient-greek-clothes-fashion-jewlery-lesson-for-kids.html>.


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