How Many People Lived During Ancient Greece?

Have you ever wondered how many people lived during Ancient Greece? It’s a fascinating question that takes us back in time to one of the most influential civilizations in history. Let’s dive into the population estimates and get a glimpse of life during this remarkable era.

The Population of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was home to numerous city-states, with Athens and Sparta being the most well-known. Estimating the population of these city-states can be challenging due to limited historical records, but historians have made educated guesses based on various sources.


Athens, often considered the birthplace of democracy, was a bustling city-state. During its Golden Age in the 5th century BCE, it is estimated that Athens had a population of around 250,000 people. This included citizens, non-citizens, and slaves.

Among these citizens were adult males who had rights and were actively involved in politics. Women, children, and slaves made up a significant portion of the population but had limited or no political rights.


Sparta, known for its military prowess and strict way of life, had a different societal structure compared to Athens. Spartans focused on maintaining a strong military force rather than expanding their population.

Estimates suggest that at its peak, Sparta had around 8,000 citizens known as Spartiates. These male citizens were full-time soldiers who dedicated their lives to military training and service. The remaining population consisted of non-citizens known as Perioikoi and helots who were enslaved agricultural workers.

Other City-States

Ancient Greece was not limited to just Athens and Sparta; there were numerous other city-states throughout the region. These city-states varied in size and population.

  • Corinth, a wealthy and powerful city-state, is estimated to have had a population of around 90,000.
  • Thebes, another prominent city-state, is believed to have had a population of approximately 40,000.
  • Olympia, famous for hosting the Olympic Games, was a smaller city-state with an estimated population of around 10,000.


While it can be challenging to determine precise population figures for Ancient Greece’s city-states, historians have provided estimates based on available evidence. Athens and Sparta were the most prominent city-states with populations in the hundreds of thousands. Other city-states varied in size but still played significant roles in Greek history.

Studying the population of Ancient Greece allows us to gain insights into the social structures and dynamics that shaped this remarkable civilization. It is a testament to the enduring legacy of Ancient Greece that continues to captivate our imagination today.