What Did Mothers Do in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, mothers played an important role in the family and society. While their responsibilities may have varied depending on their social status and location, there were certain expectations for them that were shared across the culture.


One of the most significant roles for women in ancient Greece was as mothers and caregivers. Women were expected to bear children and raise them to be productive members of society. They would breastfeed their infants until they were weaned, which typically happened around the age of three.

Educational Responsibilities

Mothers also had a significant role in educating their children. In Sparta, for example, mothers were responsible for training their sons in physical fitness and warfare. They would also teach their daughters domestic skills such as cooking and weaving.

Household Management

Mothers in ancient Greece were also responsible for managing the household. This included tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and spinning wool. They would oversee the work of any servants or slaves who worked in the household.

Social Expectations

Mothers were expected to maintain a respectable reputation within society. This meant dressing modestly and avoiding any behavior that might bring shame upon themselves or their family.

Cultural Restrictions

The role of mothers in ancient Greece was limited by cultural restrictions on women’s behavior. Women were not allowed to participate in political life or hold public office. They could not own property or inherit from their family members.


In conclusion, mothers played a vital role in ancient Greek society as caregivers, educators, household managers, and upholders of social expectations. Despite cultural restrictions on women’s behavior at the time, they still managed to fulfill these responsibilities with grace and efficiency while raising children who would ultimately shape Greek culture for centuries to come.

  • Key Takeaways:
  • Mothers in ancient Greece were responsible for child-rearing, educational responsibilities, household management, and upholding social expectations.
  • Cultural restrictions limited women’s behavior and participation in public life.
  • Despite these limitations, mothers played a vital role in shaping Greek culture.