What Did Children Call Their Parents in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, family relationships and hierarchies were of utmost importance. Children were expected to show respect and obedience towards their parents, and this was reflected even in the way they addressed them.

Unlike today’s common practice of calling parents “mom” or “dad,” ancient Greeks had specific terms they used to address their parents. Let’s take a closer look at what children called their parents in ancient Greece.

Paternal Titles

Fathers held a dominant position in ancient Greek households, and the term for father was “pater” or “pappas.” This term was used informally by children to refer to their fathers. However, when addressing their fathers formally, children used the term “kyrios,” which means “lord” or “master.”

Maternal Titles

Mothers were also highly respected in ancient Greek society. The informal term for mother was “mater” or “mama,” which children used when talking to or about their mothers. However, when addressing their mothers formally, children used the term “kyria,” which means “lady” or “mistress.”

Grandparent Titles

Grandparents played an important role in ancient Greek families as caretakers and advisors. The term for grandfather was “pappous,” while grandmother was referred to as “yaya.” These terms are still commonly used today by modern Greeks when referring to their grandparents.

Hierarchy Within Siblings

When it comes to siblings, hierarchy played a significant role in how they addressed each other. The oldest sibling held a position of authority over younger siblings and was referred to as the “archon” or leader. Younger siblings would refer to them as such.


In conclusion, children in ancient Greece showed respect towards their parents by using formal titles when addressing them. Fathers were referred to as “kyrios,” while mothers were called “kyria.”

Grandparents were given informal titles of “pappous” and “yaya,” which are still commonly used in modern Greek. Within siblings, the oldest held a position of authority and was called the “archon.” Understanding these terms gives us a glimpse into the importance of family relationships in ancient Greek society.