What Were Towns Called in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, cities were often called “polis” which referred to the city-state as a political entity. However, there were also smaller settlements that were known as “kome” or “deme.” Let’s take a closer look at the different terms used for towns in Ancient Greece.


The term “polis” was used to refer to the larger and more important cities in Ancient Greece. These were self-governing city-states that had their own government, economy, and military.

Some of the most well-known polis include Athens, Sparta, and Thebes. The term “polis” is still used today in modern Greek to refer to a city or town.


A “kome” was a smaller settlement that was usually located in the countryside. These were typically agricultural communities that relied on farming for their livelihood. Kome often had a much simpler social structure than polis and did not have their own government.


A “deme” was similar to a kome, but it was also used to refer to a subdivision of a larger city-state. For example, Athens was divided into demes which were responsible for local government and administration.

Other Terms

There were also other terms used for towns in Ancient Greece depending on the region and time period. For example, some places were referred to as “astu,” which meant fortified town or citadel. Others were called “chora,” which referred to an area outside of the main city where people lived and worked.


In conclusion, there were several terms used for towns in Ancient Greece depending on their size and political structure. The most common term was “polis,” which referred to the larger and more important cities with their own government and military.

Smaller settlements were known as “kome” or “deme,” while other terms like “astu” and “chora” were used in specific regions. Understanding these terms can help us better understand the complex social and political structures of Ancient Greece.