A Day Ιn Τhe Life Οf Αn Ancient Athenian

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 20 June 2024
A Day Ιn Τhe Life Οf Αn Ancient Athenian
Imagine waking up in ancient Athens, one of the most prominent city-states in ancient Greece. Your day would vary depending on your social status, gender, and occupation.

Here's a detailed look at how different individuals might spend their day.

Morning: The Start of the Day

  • Rise with the Sun: Men typically rose at dawn. They would wash up quickly, often using cold water, as hot water was a luxury.
  • Breakfast: A simple breakfast, known as "akratisma," consisted of barley bread dipped in wine, sometimes accompanied by figs or olives.
  • Work & Public Affairs: For many men, the morning was a time for work. Farmers would head to their fields to tend to crops like olives, grapes, and grains. Craftsmen and artisans would open their workshops to work on pottery, textiles, or metal goods. Merchants might head to the agora, the bustling marketplace, to trade goods.
  • Politics and Philosophy: In cities like Athens, men often engaged in political discussions or attended meetings at the assembly. Philosophers and students might gather at the gymnasium or in private homes to discuss ideas and theories.


  • Household Chores: Women usually woke up early to manage household tasks. They were responsible for preparing meals, spinning and weaving cloth, and caring for children.
  • Breakfast: Similar to men, women also had a simple breakfast. They might eat with their children before the day’s chores began.
  • Domestic Work: Women spent much of the morning engaged in domestic duties, which included cleaning, fetching water, and making clothes.

Midday: The Heart of Daily Activities


  • Continued Work: Farmers would continue their labor in the fields, while artisans and craftsmen worked on their trades. The marketplace remained lively with merchants and buyers haggling over goods.
  • Meals: The midday meal, known as "ariston," was light, often consisting of bread, cheese, fruits, and perhaps some fish.
  • Leisure and Socializing: Men might take a break to socialize at the agora, discussing politics, philosophy, or daily news. Public baths were also a popular place to relax and converse
  • Household Management: Women continued with their household responsibilities. Wealthier women might have slaves to assist with chores, allowing them more time for weaving or managing household finances.
  • Midday Meal: Women and children would have their ariston together, similar to what the men ate.
  • Religious Duties: Women often participated in religious rituals and household worship, paying homage to gods and goddesses to ensure the family’s well-being.

Afternoon: Winding Down the Day


  • Return Home: Farmers and workers would return home as the sun began to set. Before dinner, men might visit the public baths to cleanse and relax.
  • Symposia and Social Gatherings: Wealthier men might attend symposia, which were social gatherings involving drinking, music, and philosophical discussions. These events were important for networking and entertainment.
  • Dinner: The main meal of the day, "deipnon," was consumed in the evening. It included more substantial fare such as fish, legumes, vegetables, and occasionally meat. Wine, diluted with water, was a common accompaniment.


  • Evening Chores: As the day wound down, women would finish any remaining chores, prepare for the evening meal, and ensure the household was in order.
  • Dinner: Women and children would have their deipnon separately from the men. This meal was more substantial than the midday meal, featuring stews, bread, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Evening Activities: After dinner, women might engage in spinning, weaving, or other crafts. They also participated in evening prayers and rituals.
Night: Rest and Reflection

  • Family Time: After dinner, families might spend some time together before bed. Stories and myths were shared, often teaching moral lessons or entertaining the children.
  • Rest: With the day's work done, the household would retire for the night, ready to begin the routine anew with the dawn.
Daily life in ancient Athens was structured around work, family, and community, with a strong emphasis on social roles and responsibilities. Men and women had distinct daily routines, reflecting their different roles in society. Despite the differences from today's world, the rhythm of work, meals, socializing, and rest created a familiar pattern of life, highlighting both the uniqueness and the timeless aspects of human daily existence.