What Jobs Were in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the job market was quite different from what we know today. The society was divided into three main classes – the citizens, the metics, and the slaves. Each class had different roles and responsibilities, which shaped the job opportunities available to them.

Citizens: The citizens of Ancient Greece were typically free men who had certain rights and privileges. They were actively involved in politics and were responsible for governing the city-state. Some of the prominent jobs held by citizens included:


Athletics played a significant role in Ancient Greek society, with sports events being an integral part of religious festivals. Skilled athletes participated in various competitions such as the Olympic Games, where they represented their city-states. These athletes were highly respected and often received patronage from wealthy individuals.


Military service was mandatory for citizens in Ancient Greece. They served as hoplites, heavily armed infantrymen who fought in phalanx formations. These soldiers played a crucial role in defending their city-states during times of war.


Agriculture formed the backbone of Ancient Greek economy. Farmers worked on their lands, growing crops such as barley, wheat, olives, and grapes. They also raised livestock like sheep and goats.


Greece’s extensive coastline provided ample opportunities for fishing. Fishermen would venture out to sea to catch fish and other marine creatures using nets or hooks.

  • Artisans:

Skilled artisans such as potters, sculptors, weavers, and blacksmiths played an essential role in producing goods for trade and daily life.

Metics: Metics were free foreigners living in Ancient Greece. While they did not have the same rights as citizens, they were allowed to engage in various occupations. Some of the jobs held by metics included:


As traders, merchants played a vital role in maintaining economic ties between different city-states. They traveled far and wide, trading a variety of goods such as pottery, textiles, and luxury items.


Metics were often employed as tutors or teachers for the children of wealthy families. They imparted knowledge in subjects like literature, music, philosophy, and mathematics.

Slaves: Slavery was prevalent in Ancient Greece, and slaves were considered property rather than individuals with rights. They performed various tasks depending on their skills and abilities. Some common jobs held by slaves included:

Domestic Servants:

Slaves worked as domestic servants in households, taking care of household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

Agricultural Laborers:

In rural areas, slaves worked on farms alongside free farmers. They cultivated crops, tended to livestock, and performed other agricultural tasks.

Mine Workers:

Slaves were often forced to work in mines to extract valuable minerals like silver and gold.

In conclusion, Ancient Greece had a diverse range of jobs that catered to different classes within society. From athletes and soldiers to farmers and artisans, each occupation played a crucial role in shaping the ancient Greek civilization.