How Many Humans Were There in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, the population size varied over time and across different regions. While it is challenging to determine the exact number of humans that lived in ancient Greece, historians have estimated the population based on various sources and archaeological evidence.

The Archaic Period

The Archaic period in ancient Greece, which lasted from around 800 BCE to 480 BCE, witnessed significant population growth. During this time, Greek city-states experienced advancements in agriculture, trade, and colonization.

According to estimations, the total population of mainland Greece during the Archaic period was between 800,000 and 1 million people. However, it’s important to note that these numbers are approximate figures and can vary depending on different sources.

The Classical Period

The Classical period in ancient Greece is considered one of the most influential periods in history. It spanned from around 480 BCE to 323 BCE and saw the rise of Athens as a cultural and political powerhouse.

During this period, the population of Athens alone was estimated to be around 100,000 citizens. However, including foreigners (metics) and slaves (approximately four times the number of citizens), Athens’ total population could have exceeded half a million people.

Outside of Athens, other city-states like Sparta had a significantly smaller population due to their rigid social structure. Estimates suggest that Sparta’s citizen population was around 8,000-9,000 people.

The Hellenistic Period

The Hellenistic period followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE and lasted until around 31 BCE. This era witnessed Greek culture spreading across vast territories under Alexander’s empire.

During this time, several cities were established throughout Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Egypt, and the Middle East. These new Greek settlements contributed to an increase in the overall Greek population.

Population Centers

Athens remained a significant population center during the Hellenistic period. Other cities such as Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch in Syria also grew rapidly and became major urban centers with populations exceeding 100,000 inhabitants.

Total Population

Estimating the total population of ancient Greece during the Hellenistic period is challenging due to limited data availability. However, it is believed that Greece and its colonies may have had a combined population of several million people.


In conclusion, the population of ancient Greece varied throughout different periods and regions. While it is difficult to determine accurate figures, estimations suggest that the population ranged from hundreds of thousands to several million people. The advancements in agriculture, trade, and colonization during the Archaic and Classical periods contributed to significant population growth in ancient Greece.