Was There Agriculture in Ancient Greece?

Agriculture has been the backbone of human civilization since ancient times. It was the source of food and livelihood for people, and it allowed communities to settle in one place and grow.

Ancient Greece is known for its great philosophers, art, and architecture, but was there agriculture in ancient Greece as well? Let’s explore.

The History of Agriculture in Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was a rocky terrain with rugged mountains and dry climate, making it challenging for agriculture. However, the Greeks were innovative in their farming methods and found ways to cultivate crops despite the harsh conditions.

The Greeks practiced two types of agriculture: subsistence farming and commercial farming. Subsistence farming was done by small landowners who cultivated crops for their own consumption. Commercial farming, on the other hand, involved large estates that grew crops to sell for profit.

Crops Grown in Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks grew a variety of crops depending on the region they lived in. In the fertile plains of Thessaly and Boeotia, wheat, barley, legumes (such as lentils), olives, grapes were grown. In Attica (the region surrounding Athens), figs and pomegranates were also cultivated.

In addition to these crops, the Greeks also grew flax to make linen textiles. They raised livestock such as sheep and goats for meat and dairy products.

Agricultural Tools Used by Ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks used a variety of tools to cultivate their fields. These included plows made of wood or iron with an attached yoke that was pulled by oxen or mules. Sickle knives were used to harvest grain crops like wheat or barley.

They also utilized irrigation systems such as aqueducts or canals to bring water from nearby rivers or streams to irrigate their fields during dry seasons.

The Importance of Agriculture in Ancient Greece

Agriculture was vital to the ancient Greeks as it provided them with food, clothing, and economic stability. The cultivation of crops allowed the Greeks to trade with other regions for goods that they could not produce themselves.

Furthermore, agriculture played a significant role in Greek mythology and religion. Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, was worshipped by the Greeks who believed that she brought fertility to their crops and protected their harvests.


In conclusion, agriculture was an essential part of ancient Greek society. Despite the challenging terrain, the Greeks were able to cultivate a variety of crops through innovative farming methods and tools. Agriculture provided them with food security, economic stability, and played a significant role in their mythology and religion.