How Do You Greet in Ancient Greece?

Greeting in Ancient Greece was an important social custom that had its own set of rules. It was a way of showing respect and acknowledging the presence of others.

The Greeks believed that good manners were essential for maintaining harmony in society. Let’s explore how the Greeks greeted each other.

Forms of Greetings

In Ancient Greece, there were two main forms of greetings: the formal and the informal. The formal greeting was used for people in higher social positions or those who were not well acquainted with each other. The informal greeting was used for friends and family members.

Formal Greetings

The formal greeting in ancient Greece involved a series of steps. First, the person would approach the other and bow their head slightly as a sign of respect.

Next, they would extend their right hand and grasp the other person’s right hand firmly. This handshake was not as firm as we know it today but was done gently to avoid any injuries.

After shaking hands, they would stand at arm’s length from each other and make eye contact while exchanging pleasantries. It was considered impolite to look away while talking to someone.

Informal Greetings

The informal greeting in ancient Greece involved hugging or kissing on the cheek, depending on the relationship between individuals. Friends would usually hug each other while family members would kiss on the cheek.

Verbal Greetings

The verbal greetings in ancient Greece varied depending on the time of day. In the morning, people would greet each other by saying “Kalimera” which means “Good morning.”

During midday, people would say “Kali Mesimeria” which means “Good afternoon.” In the evening, people would greet each other by saying “Kalispera” which means “Good evening.”

The Importance of Greeting

Greeting was considered an important aspect of social interaction in ancient Greece. Failure to greet someone was considered impolite and disrespectful.


In conclusion, greeting in ancient Greece was a formal and respectful social custom that involved both verbal and physical gestures. It was an essential part of maintaining harmony in society and showing respect for each other. By understanding the ancient Greek greeting customs, we can learn to appreciate the importance of manners and respect for others in our modern-day interactions.