What Was a Citizen Called in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the term ‘citizen’ had a different meaning than what we understand today. A citizen was defined as an adult male who was born in the city-state or had been granted citizenship by the government. Foreigners, women, children, and slaves were not considered citizens.

Citizenship in Ancient Greece

Citizenship was a highly valued status in Ancient Greece as it gave individuals political rights and protection under the law. Citizens had the right to vote in public assemblies, hold public office, and participate in jury trials. They were also obligated to serve in the army during times of war.

The Different Types of Citizens

There were two types of citizens in Ancient Greece – ‘perioikoi’ and ‘helots’. The perioikoi were free men who lived outside the city walls but within the state’s territory.

They were not allowed to participate in politics but could own property and engage in trade. The helots, on the other hand, were state slaves who worked on farms owned by citizens.

Titles Given to Citizens

In Ancient Greece, citizens were addressed by various titles that denoted their social status or occupation. Some of these titles include:

  • ‘Polites’ – This title referred to a full citizen who had all political rights.
  • ‘Zeugites’ – This title referred to a citizen who owned land and had enough wealth to afford a set of armor.
  • ‘Hippeus’ – This title referred to a citizen who could afford to own a horse for military purposes.
  • ‘Pentakosiomedimnoi’ – This title referred to the wealthiest citizens who owned at least 500 bushels of produce annually.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the term ‘citizen’ in Ancient Greece had a specific definition that excluded women, children, foreigners, and slaves. Citizenship was highly valued and gave individuals political rights and protection under the law. Citizens were addressed by various titles that denoted their social status or occupation.