Did They Have Candles in Ancient Greece?

Candles are a staple in modern households. They serve multiple purposes, from lighting up a room during power outages to adding ambiance to a romantic dinner.

But did the ancient Greeks use candles Let’s delve into the history of candles and find out.

The History of Candles

Candles have been used for centuries as a source of light. The earliest recorded use of candles dates back to ancient Egypt, where they were made from beeswax. The ancient Romans also used candles made from tallow, which is animal fat.

Candles in Ancient Greece

Now that we know the history of candles, let’s focus on whether they were used in ancient Greece. Unfortunately, there is no concrete evidence that suggests the Greeks used candles. However, there are some indirect references that suggest they may have had access to them.

Ancient Greek Lamps

The Greeks primarily used oil lamps for lighting their homes and public spaces. These lamps were made from clay or bronze and had a wick made from linen or papyrus. The wick was soaked in olive oil, which served as the fuel source.

References to “Light” in Ancient Greek Literature

Although there is no direct reference to candles in ancient Greek literature, there are several mentions of “light.” For example, Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey” describes how Odysseus lights a fire using dry wood and kindling to signal his presence to his son Telemachus. This passage suggests that the ancient Greeks were familiar with lighting sources other than oil lamps.


In conclusion, while there is no direct evidence that suggests the ancient Greeks used candles, it is possible that they had access to them indirectly. However, it is clear that oil lamps were the primary source of lighting in ancient Greece.

So, the next time you light a candle, take a moment to appreciate the long and rich history behind this simple yet versatile source of light.