What Are the Four Main Social Classes in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, society was divided into four main social classes, each with its own distinct characteristics and roles. These classes were based on wealth, power, and occupation. Let’s take a closer look at each class.

The Aristocrats

The aristocrats were the highest social class in ancient Greece. They were wealthy landowners who had inherited their status and were born into their privileged position.

The aristocrats owned large estates that were worked by slaves or tenant farmers. They lived in lavish homes and had access to the finest education, healthcare, and entertainment.

The aristocrats held important political offices and were heavily involved in the government of their city-states. They also served as officers in the army and navy. The most famous example of an ancient Greek aristocrat is probably Pericles, who was a general during the Peloponnesian War.

The Middle Class

The middle class in ancient Greece was made up of small landowners, artisans, merchants, and traders. They were not born into wealth or inherited status but earned it through hard work and entrepreneurship.

This class was politically active but did not hold as much power as the aristocrats. However, they could still serve on juries or hold lower-level political positions.

The Metics

The metics were foreigners who lived in ancient Greece but were not citizens. They could not own property or participate in politics but could engage in trade or crafts.

Many metics came to Greece for economic opportunities or to escape persecution elsewhere. Despite their limitations, some metics became wealthy through trade or other business ventures.

The Slaves

The lowest social class in ancient Greece was the slaves. Slaves were people who had been captured in war or sold into slavery due to debt or poverty. They had no rights and could be bought and sold like property.

Slaves performed various tasks such as domestic work, farming, or mining. They had no say in their working conditions or treatment and were subject to punishment if they disobeyed their owners.


In conclusion, ancient Greek society was divided into four main social classes: the aristocrats, the middle class, the metics, and the slaves.

Each class had its own distinct characteristics and roles within society. Understanding these classes can provide insight into ancient Greek culture and history.