What Are the Colors of Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, colors played an important role in various aspects of their culture, from art to fashion to religion. Each hue was symbolic and held a special significance that defined their beliefs and traditions. Let’s dive deeper into the colors of ancient Greece.

The Colors of the Greek Gods

Greek mythology is rich with stories of gods and goddesses who were associated with specific colors. For instance, Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, was often depicted wearing a helm and holding a shield, both of which were adorned with bright red plumes. Red symbolized courage and strength in battle.

On the other hand, Apollo, the god of music and prophecy, was often depicted wearing golden robes. Gold represented divinity and power in ancient Greece. Similarly, Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvests, was associated with greenery as it symbolized fertility.

The Colors of Greek Art

Greek art is renowned for its vibrant use of color even though many ancient pieces have faded over time. The Greeks used a variety of natural pigments to create their artwork. Some popular hues included:

  • Blue: The Greeks used lapis lazuli to create a deep blue pigment that symbolized the sea and sky.
  • Red: Made from red ochre or cinnabar, this color represented passion and energy.
  • Yellow: This cheerful color was created using yellow ochre or saffron and symbolized joy.
  • Green: Made from malachite or verdigris, this color represented nature and growth.
  • Purple: This regal hue was created using murex snails’ secretions and was reserved for royalty due to its high cost.

The Colors of Greek Fashion

Fashion was an important aspect of ancient Greek culture, and the colors worn by individuals held great significance. For instance, men typically wore white tunics, which symbolized purity and innocence. Women’s clothing was more colorful and often included shades of red, yellow, and blue.

Additionally, certain colors were reserved for specific events. For example, black was worn during mourning periods while white was worn during weddings. Red was also a popular color for special occasions as it represented joy and celebration.

The Colors of Greek Architecture

Greek architecture is known for its use of white marble, which symbolized purity and perfection. However, many buildings were also decorated with colorful paintings and mosaics. Some popular hues included blue, red, green, and gold.


In conclusion, the colors of ancient Greece played an essential role in defining their beliefs and traditions. Each hue held a symbolic meaning that enriched their culture in various aspects such as art, fashion, religion, and architecture. Today we can still see the influence of these colors in modern-day Greece’s cultural practices.