What Activities Did People Do in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece was a civilization that flourished from the 8th century BC to the 6th century AD. The Greeks have been credited with many achievements, including the invention of democracy, philosophy, and the Olympic Games.

But what did the ancient Greeks do for leisure? In this article, we will explore some of the activities that were popular in Ancient Greece.

Physical Activities

The ancient Greeks placed a great emphasis on physical fitness and many of their leisure activities were centered around physical exercise. Gymnastics was an important part of Greek education and was practiced by both men and women. The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek word “gymnos” which means naked, as participants would exercise in the nude.

Athletics was also a popular pastime in Ancient Greece. The Olympic Games, which began in 776 BC, were held every four years in Olympia and included events such as running, jumping, wrestling, and boxing. Winners of these events were highly celebrated and even received monetary rewards.


Theater was another important form of entertainment in Ancient Greece. Plays were performed outdoors in amphitheaters and were attended by thousands of people. The plays often dealt with themes such as love, war, and politics and were written by famous playwrights such as Sophocles and Euripides.

The actors would wear masks to portray different characters and there would be a chorus that provided commentary on the action taking place on stage. Theater was not only a form of entertainment but also served as a way for citizens to engage with political issues.


Music was also an important part of Ancient Greek culture. The lyre and the flute were popular instruments that were used to accompany poetry recitation or singing. Music was often played at social gatherings such as weddings or banquets.

Musicians were highly respected in Ancient Greece and some even achieved celebrity status. The most famous musician of the time was Orpheus, who was said to be able to charm animals with his music.


Board games were also popular in Ancient Greece. One of the most popular games was called “petteia” which was a strategy game played on a board with black and white pieces. Another popular game was “kottabos” which involved trying to flick wine from a cup at a Target.

There were also gambling games that involved throwing dice or spinning tops. Gambling was not looked down upon in Ancient Greece and was considered a legitimate form of entertainment.


In conclusion, the ancient Greeks enjoyed a wide variety of leisure activities, from physical exercise to theater to gaming. These activities not only provided entertainment but also served as a way for citizens to engage with each other and express themselves. The legacy of Ancient Greek leisure activities can still be seen today, from the Olympic Games to modern theater productions.