Why Were Metics Encouraged to Settle in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece was a land of political and social changes, and one notable aspect of its history is the rise of the metics. Metics were non-citizens who lived in ancient Athens and other Greek city-states.

They played a significant role in shaping the cultural, economic, and political landscape of ancient Greece. In this article, we will explore why metics were encouraged to settle in ancient Greece.

What Were Metics?

In ancient Greece, metics were individuals who were not citizens but lived in the city-state as free people. They could be traders, artisans, or other skilled workers who migrated to Athens or other Greek cities. They could also be freed slaves who became independent but did not have the rights of Athenian citizens.

Encouragement for Settling in Ancient Greece

Metics played an important role in the Athenian economy and society. They were encouraged to settle in Athens because they brought valuable skills and resources that helped the city prosper. Metics contributed to trade, manufacturing, and commerce, which helped Athens become a dominant economic power.

Metics also provided essential services to Athenian citizens. They worked as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and entertainers. They managed businesses that provided goods and services to Athenians like clothing stores or restaurants.

Legal Status

Despite their contributions to Athenian society, metics did not enjoy full citizenship rights. They could not own land or participate fully in politics as only citizens could do so.

However, they had some legal rights and protections under the law. The Athenian government was responsible for protecting them from harm by other citizens or foreign powers.


To become a metic in Athens or any other Greek city-state required that you register yourself with the local authority formally. The registration process included paying taxes annually for protection by the state.


Metics were not always welcomed in ancient Greece. They were sometimes subject to persecution and discrimination.

Some Athenians viewed metics as a threat to their way of life. In times of economic hardship, the Athenians sometimes blamed metics for their problems, leading to prejudice and violence against them.


In conclusion, metics played an integral role in the development of ancient Greek society. Their skills and contributions helped Athens prosper economically and culturally during its Golden Age.

Although they did not have full citizenship rights, they enjoyed legal protections that made it possible for them to live and work in Athens. Despite the challenges they faced, including discrimination and persecution, metics continued to settle in ancient Greece because it was a land of opportunity and promise.