Who Became Slaves in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, slavery was a common practice. The economy of Greece was dependent on slavery, and slaves were used in various fields, including agriculture, manufacturing, and domestic work.

However, not everyone in Ancient Greece became a slave. Let’s explore who became slaves in Ancient Greece.

Who Became Slaves?

Slavery was mainly based on debt and war. People who could not pay their debts became slaves.

These people were usually farmers who borrowed money to buy seeds or tools for their farms. If they failed to repay their debts, they could be sold into slavery.

War Captives

Another group of people who became slaves were war captives. The Greeks often went to war with other city-states or neighboring countries. After winning a battle, the Greeks would take the defeated soldiers as captives and sell them as slaves.

Babies Born to Slave Mothers

Babies born to slave mothers also became slaves. Children of female slaves were considered property and had no rights. They were owned by their masters and could be sold or traded at any time.

The Life of a Slave in Ancient Greece

Life as a slave in Ancient Greece was brutal and challenging. Slaves had no rights and were treated as property rather than human beings. They worked long hours with little pay or rest.

Domestic Slaves

Domestic slaves worked in households as servants or nannies for children. They had to do all the household chores like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and taking care of children.

Agricultural Slaves

Agricultural slaves worked on farms owned by wealthy landowners. They did backbreaking work like planting crops, harvesting them, and taking care of livestock.

Mining Slaves

Mining slaves worked in mines to extract precious metals and stones. They worked in dangerous and unhealthy conditions and were often injured or killed on the job.

The End of Slavery in Ancient Greece

Slavery in Ancient Greece lasted for centuries until it was abolished in the 6th century BCE. The philosopher Aristotle believed that slavery was a natural state for some people and that they were born to be slaves. However, over time, more people began to question the morality of slavery, and it was eventually abolished.


In Ancient Greece, slavery was a common practice, but not everyone became a slave. Slaves were mainly war captives, debtors, and babies born to slave mothers.

Life as a slave was brutal and challenging with no rights or freedoms. Slavery was eventually abolished in Ancient Greece, but its impact on society lasted for centuries.