How Did Agriculture Affect Ancient Greece?

Agriculture played a significant role in shaping the ancient Greek civilization. The Greeks were not known for their agricultural skills, but rather for their advancements in art, philosophy, and science. However, agriculture was the backbone of their economy and was crucial in providing food for the growing population.

The Importance of Agriculture in Ancient Greece

Agriculture was vital to the ancient Greek economy, as it provided food for the population and raw materials for various industries. The Greeks cultivated various crops such as wheat, barley, olives, and grapes. Olive trees were especially important to the ancient Greeks as they provided oil that was used for cooking and lighting.

Farms were typically small-scale and family-owned in ancient Greece. Farmers utilized simple tools like plows pulled by oxen to till the soil. Irrigation systems were also employed to ensure that crops received enough water during dry spells.

The Effect of Agriculture on Ancient Greek Society

The rise of agriculture had a profound impact on ancient Greek society. It led to an increase in population due to a more abundant food supply. As a result, people could specialize in various trades such as metalworking, pottery making, and weaving.

The production of surplus crops allowed for trade with neighboring civilizations. The Greeks exported olives and olive oil to other regions while importing goods like grain from Egypt.

List of Effects:

  • Increased food supply
  • Increase in population
  • Specialization of trades
  • Surplus crops allowed for trade with neighboring civilizations
  • Export of olives and olive oil while importing goods like grain from Egypt

The Role of Agriculture in Ancient Greek Religion

Agriculture played a significant role in ancient Greek religion as well. The Greeks believed that various gods controlled the elements necessary for agriculture, such as rain and sunshine. They held several festivals throughout the year to honor these gods and give thanks for a successful harvest.

One such festival was the Thesmophoria, which was held in honor of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. During this festival, women would fast and perform various rituals to ensure a good harvest.


In conclusion, agriculture played a crucial role in shaping ancient Greek civilization. It provided food for the population, raw materials for various industries, and allowed for trade with neighboring civilizations.

Additionally, it played a significant role in ancient Greek religion. Without agriculture, it is unlikely that the Greeks would have been able to achieve the cultural advancements that they are known for today.