What Were Slaves Called in Ancient Greece?

Slavery has been a part of human history for centuries, and Ancient Greece was no exception. In fact, slavery played a significant role in the development of Ancient Greek civilization. However, it is important to note that the term used to refer to slaves in Ancient Greece was not consistent and varied over time.

In early Ancient Greece, the term used to refer to slaves was “doulos,” which means “bondservant” or “slave.” This term was derived from the Greek word “deo,” which means “to bind.” The term was used in a broad sense and referred to any individual who was considered property and could be bought and sold.

During the classical period of Ancient Greece (5th-4th century BCE), the Greeks began using a new term to refer to slaves: “andrapodon.” This term literally means “man-footed” and was used as a more specific term for male slaves. Female slaves were still referred to as “doulas.”

In addition to these terms, there were also different classifications of slaves in Ancient Greece. For example, some slaves were known as “oiketai,” meaning household servants. These individuals worked in the homes of their masters and were responsible for tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

Another classification of slaves in Ancient Greece were known as “ergastinai,” meaning laborers. These individuals worked in various fields such as agriculture, mining, and construction.

Despite these various terms and classifications, it is important to recognize that slavery in Ancient Greece was not solely based on race or ethnicity. Slaves came from all walks of life and could be acquired through various means such as debt bondage or being captured during war.

In conclusion, while there were various terms used to refer to slaves in Ancient Greece such as “doulos” and “andrapodon,” what is most important is understanding the significance of slavery within this society. Slavery played a significant role in the development of Ancient Greek civilization, and it is important to continue learning about this complex and often difficult history.