What Did the Slaves Do in Ancient Greece?

What Did the Slaves Do in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece was a civilization known for its contributions to literature, philosophy, and democracy. However, it is important to remember that this society was built on the labor of enslaved individuals. Slavery was an integral part of daily life in Ancient Greece, and slaves performed a wide range of tasks that were essential for the functioning of society.

Roles and Responsibilities

Household Duties:

  • Cleaning and maintenance of the house
  • Childcare and upbringing
  • Cooking and food preparation
  • Serving meals to the family

Agricultural Labor:

  • Tending to crops in fields and vineyards
  • Harvesting fruits, vegetables, and grains
  • Caring for livestock such as sheep and goats
  • Maintaining irrigation systems

Skilled Crafts:

  • Blacksmithing and metalworking
  • Pottery making
  • Weaving textiles and clothing production
  • Carpentry and woodworking

Treatment of Slaves in Ancient Greece:

The treatment of slaves varied depending on their owners. While some slaves were treated relatively well, others experienced harsh conditions and abuse. Slavery was considered a normal part of life in Ancient Greece, with slaves being seen as property rather than individuals with rights.

The Value of Education:

Education for Slaves:

Most slaves in Ancient Greece did not have access to formal education. However, some slaves, particularly those working in households, had the opportunity to learn basic literacy and numeracy skills. This allowed them to assist with administrative tasks and communicate with their owners.

Educated Slaves:

There were a few exceptions where slaves were educated and held positions of importance. These educated slaves often served as tutors for the children of wealthy families or as personal assistants to their owners. They played a crucial role in transmitting knowledge and cultural values within the household.


Ancient Greece was a society built on the labor of enslaved individuals. Slaves performed various roles, from household duties to agricultural labor and skilled crafts.

While slavery was an accepted institution in Ancient Greece, it is essential to recognize the contributions and hardships faced by these individuals. Understanding the role of slavery in ancient societies helps us gain a more comprehensive understanding of history.