How Was Beauty Viewed in Ancient Greece?

Beauty has long been a subject of fascination in human society, and this was no different in ancient Greece. The Greeks had a unique perspective on beauty, which was deeply ingrained in their culture and reflected in various aspects of their lives. Let’s delve into how beauty was viewed in ancient Greece.

Physical Beauty

In ancient Greek society, physical beauty held great importance. The Greeks believed that physical attractiveness was a reflection of one’s inner virtues and moral character. Therefore, individuals who were physically beautiful were considered to be morally upright and morally superior.

The Ideal of Physical Beauty:

The Greeks idealized the human form, particularly the male body. They believed that a well-proportioned physique with muscularity and symmetry represented the epitome of physical beauty. This ideal can be seen in various art forms such as sculptures and pottery, where male figures are depicted with chiseled features and athletic bodies.


Ancient Greeks took great care in adorning themselves to enhance their physical appearance. Both men and women used cosmetics, perfumes, and oils to groom themselves and improve their aesthetic appeal. It was common for women to wear makeup like kohl on their eyes or red pigments on their lips and cheeks.

Intellectual Beauty

In addition to physical beauty, intellectual beauty held significant value in ancient Greece. The Greeks admired individuals who possessed intelligence, wisdom, eloquence, and wit.


Greece was home to some of the greatest philosophers in history, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These thinkers were revered not only for their intellectual brilliance but also for the beauty of their minds. The ability to engage in deep philosophical discussions and present logical arguments was considered intellectually beautiful.

Rhetoric and Oratory:

The Greeks highly valued the art of public speaking. A person who could deliver a persuasive speech or engage an audience with their eloquence was considered intellectually beautiful. This can be seen in the prominence given to orators in ancient Greece, who were admired for their ability to convey complex ideas with clarity and grace.

Inner Beauty

Ancient Greeks believed that true beauty extended beyond physical appearances and intellect. They emphasized the importance of cultivating inner beauty, which encompassed qualities such as kindness, generosity, integrity, and moral virtue.

Moral Virtue:

The Greeks placed great emphasis on moral virtues such as courage, honesty, and justice. These virtues were considered essential for leading a virtuous and beautiful life. Individuals who exemplified these qualities were greatly admired in society.

Kindness and Compassion:

Greek society valued individuals who displayed kindness towards others. Acts of compassion and empathy were seen as manifestations of inner beauty. The ability to show care and concern for fellow citizens was highly regarded.


Ancient Greece had a multifaceted view of beauty, encompassing physical attractiveness, intellectual brilliance, and inner virtue. The Greeks believed that true beauty went beyond external appearances and required the cultivation of one’s mind, character, and moral values. This holistic perspective on beauty continues to influence our understanding of aesthetics today.