What Was Metalwork Used for in Ancient Greece?

Metalwork was an essential craft in ancient Greece and played a significant role in shaping the country’s culture and economy. This article will explore the different uses of metalwork in ancient Greece, including its function as decorative art, weaponry, and currency.

Decorative Art:
One of the most notable uses of metalwork in ancient Greece was as decorative art. Metal pieces were crafted into various objects such as vases, bowls, and figurines. These items were often adorned with intricate designs or images of gods and goddesses from Greek mythology.

One example of this type of metalwork is the Charioteer of Delphi, a bronze statue that was created in the 5th century BCE. The statue depicts a charioteer in motion and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient Greek bronze casting.

Metalworking also played an essential role in creating weapons for ancient Greek soldiers. The Greeks used bronze to create weapons such as swords, spears, and armor. Bronze was chosen for its durability and strength.

The most famous example of a weapon made from bronze is probably the hoplite spear or dory. The hoplite spear was used by Greek warriors known as hoplites who fought in formation on foot. The spear was approximately two meters long and could be used to thrust or throw at an enemy.

  • Hoplite Shield

Another piece of weaponry made from metal is the hoplite shield or Aspis. The shield was made from wood covered with leather on both sides and had a central boss made from bronze that protected the hand holding it.


Finally, metalwork was also crucial for creating currency in ancient Greece. Coins were created using precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper. These coins were often adorned with images of gods or rulers to signify their value.

One example of ancient Greek currency is the Athenian owl, a silver coin that was used in Athens during the 5th century BCE. The coin featured the image of an owl on one side and the goddess Athena on the other.

In conclusion, metalwork played a significant role in ancient Greek society. It was used for decorative art, weaponry, and currency. The skill and craftsmanship of ancient Greek metalworkers have left us with some of the most beautiful and enduring pieces of art from this fascinating era.