What Were Common Pets in Ancient Greece?

Pets have been a part of human life for centuries. They provide companionship, security, and entertainment.

Ancient Greece was no exception to this rule. In fact, pets were an integral part of Greek society, and their presence can be found in various aspects of Greek culture.

The Most Common Pets in Ancient Greece

Dogs were one of the most common pets in ancient Greece. They were trained for hunting, herding, and guarding.

The Greeks prized their dogs and even depicted them in art. A famous example is the statue of the dog Laconicum, which stood outside the temple of Artemis Orthia in Sparta.

Cats were also kept as pets in ancient Greece. They were valued for their ability to catch rats and mice that infested homes and granaries. Cats were also believed to have mystical powers, and some Greeks even worshiped them as sacred animals.

Birds such as doves, partridges, quails, and thrushes were also kept as pets. They were valued for their singing abilities and often kept in cages or aviaries.

Fish were another popular pet in ancient Greece. Wealthy Greeks often had fishponds on their estates that contained exotic fish imported from other parts of the Mediterranean.

Pets in Greek Mythology

Pets played a significant role in Greek mythology too. One famous example is Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to Hades (the underworld) to prevent the living from entering.

Another example is the golden-fleeced ram that helped Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

The Importance of Pets in Ancient Greece

Pets held significant cultural importance in ancient Greece. They provided companionship to their owners but also served practical purposes such as hunting or pest control.

The Greeks believed that pets could help improve mental health by reducing stress levels and providing comfort. They were also believed to have healing powers, and some Greeks would seek out the company of pets to aid in their recovery from illness.

In conclusion, pets were an integral part of ancient Greek society. Dogs, cats, birds, fish, and other animals were kept as companions, for practical purposes or even sacred ones. They held cultural and symbolic significance that is still celebrated in modern times.