Did They Use Candles in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece, known for its rich history and cultural contributions, has always fascinated historians and archaeologists alike. One interesting aspect of ancient civilizations is the way they illuminated their surroundings. In this article, we will explore whether candles were used in Ancient Greece and shed light on the methods they employed for lighting.

Lighting in Ancient Greece

In ancient times, lighting was a necessity not only to illuminate homes but also for various religious ceremonies and public events. While candles may seem like an obvious choice for providing light, their use in Ancient Greece was not as widespread as one might assume.

Oil Lamps: A Popular Choice

Instead of candles, Greeks primarily used oil lamps as their primary source of lighting. These lamps were typically made of clay or bronze and featured a small dish filled with olive oil. A wick made of linen or papyrus was placed in the oil, which would burn slowly and emit a steady flame.

The design of these oil lamps varied over time, with some featuring intricate patterns and decorative elements. They were an essential part of every household in Ancient Greece, serving both practical and aesthetic purposes.

Ancient Greek Candle Use

While candles were not commonly used in everyday life during ancient times, there is evidence to suggest that they were occasionally employed for specific purposes. For instance, during religious ceremonies or rituals dedicated to the gods, candles made from animal fat or beeswax might have been lit to create a sacred ambiance.

  • Bold Text: Candles played a minor role in the religious practices of Ancient Greece.
  • Bold Text: Animal fat or beeswax was likely used to make these specialized candles.

However, it is worth noting that the use of candles in ancient Greece was limited to specific contexts and not a common household item.


In conclusion, while candles were not widely used for everyday lighting in Ancient Greece, they did have a small role in religious ceremonies and rituals. Greeks primarily relied on oil lamps for their lighting needs. Understanding the lighting methods of ancient civilizations like Ancient Greece allows us to appreciate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our ancestors.

So, the next time you light a candle, take a moment to reflect on the evolution of lighting throughout history and how it has shaped our modern world.