Did They Have Umbrellas in Ancient Greece?

Did They Have Umbrellas in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, the use of umbrellas was not as common as it is today. The climate and lifestyle of the ancient Greeks did not necessitate the use of umbrellas in the same way that we do now. However, that does not mean that they did not have any means of protecting themselves from the rain or sun.

Protection from the Elements

The ancient Greeks were no strangers to adverse weather conditions. They had to find ways to shield themselves from both rain and sun during their daily activities. While umbrellas as we know them did not exist, they employed various other methods to protect themselves.


Clothing played a significant role in shielding ancient Greeks from the elements. They wore long, flowing garments made of lightweight materials like linen or wool to keep cool in hot weather and provide some protection from the sun’s rays. These garments also helped to some extent in keeping them dry during light rain showers.

Hats and Headcoverings

Ancient Greeks frequently wore hats and headcoverings to shield themselves from both rain and sun. One popular type of headwear was a petasos, which was a wide-brimmed hat made of felt or straw. The petasos provided shade from the sun and could also be used as partial protection against rain.

Ancient Greek Shades

Ancient Greeks were resourceful when it came to finding ways to protect themselves from intense sunlight. While they did not have umbrellas, they created shaded areas where they could seek refuge from the hot Mediterranean sun.

Pergolas and Porticos

In ancient Greece, shaded outdoor areas were created using structures like pergolas and porticos. Pergolas were wooden frameworks that supported climbing plants like vines, creating a natural canopy of shade. Porticos were covered walkways with columns that provided shelter from the sun.

Outdoor Theaters

Ancient Greek theaters, such as the famous Theater of Dionysus in Athens, were designed with the audience’s comfort in mind. These theaters had a kĊilon, or seating area, that was built into a hillside, which offered natural shade and protection from the sun.

Ancient Greek Rain Solutions

While umbrellas may not have been prevalent in ancient Greece, there were still ways to cope with rainy weather.

Cloaks and Capes

Ancient Greeks often wore cloaks or capes made of wool or linen to protect themselves during rain showers. These garments were usually long and could be wrapped around the body to shield against moisture.

Covered Walkways

In places where people frequently walked, like marketplaces or important public spaces, covered walkways called stoas provided shelter from rain. Stoas featured colonnades supporting a roof structure that kept people dry while moving between different areas.

In Conclusion

In ancient Greece, umbrellas as we know them today did not exist. However, the resourceful ancient Greeks found other ways to shield themselves from both rain and sun.

Clothing choices such as long garments and headcoverings provided some protection, while shaded areas like pergolas and porticos offered relief from intense sunlight. Cloaks and capes were used to cope with rain showers, and covered walkways called stoas provided shelter in public spaces. So, while they may not have had umbrellas, the ancient Greeks certainly had their own methods of protecting themselves from the elements.