How Big Was Ancient Greece Population?

In this article, we will explore the population of ancient Greece and gain a better understanding of how big it was. Ancient Greece, known for its rich history and cultural contributions, was home to a significant number of people during its heyday.

Ancient Greek City-States

Ancient Greece was not a unified country but rather consisted of several independent city-states. These city-states were self-governing entities with their own governments, laws, and even currencies. The most famous among them were Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes.


Athens, the capital city of modern-day Greece, was one of the most populous city-states in ancient Greece. During its golden age in the 5th century BCE, it is estimated that Athens had a population of around 250,000 to 300,000 people. This made it one of the largest cities in the ancient world.


Sparta, known for its military prowess and disciplined way of life, had a significantly smaller population compared to Athens. It is estimated that Sparta had around 8,000 to 10,000 citizens during its peak period.

Rural Population

While the city-states had relatively large populations for their time, most Greeks lived in rural areas as farmers or peasants. These rural populations were spread across various regions of mainland Greece as well as on islands such as Crete and Rhodes.

Exact figures for the rural population are difficult to determine due to limited historical records. However, estimates suggest that there could have been anywhere between 1 million to 3 million people living in rural areas during ancient times.

Total Population

Considering both urban and rural populations, it is believed that the total population of ancient Greece ranged from 3 million to 9 million people. This number varied over time due to factors such as wars, migrations, and natural disasters.

Ancient Greece’s population was relatively small compared to some other civilizations of the time, such as ancient Egypt or ancient China. However, it is important to note that the Greek civilization had a significant impact on the development of Western civilization and its cultural contributions have stood the test of time.


Ancient Greece was home to a diverse population spread across various city-states and rural areas. While exact figures are challenging to determine, estimates suggest that the total population ranged from 3 million to 9 million people. Despite its relatively small population size, ancient Greece’s cultural legacy has left an indelible mark on human history.